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Full text of "The life of Saint Elizabeth"

JOHN M. KELLY LIBRARY 



Donated by 

The Redemptorists of 
the Toronto Province 

from the Library Collection of 
Holy Redeemer College, Windsor 



University of 
St. Michael s College, Toronto 



HOLY REDEEMER LIBRARY, 



THE LIFE 

OF 



SAINT ELIZABETH 



BY THE 



COUNT DE MONTALEMBERT 



P. J. KENEDY & SONS 

44 BARCLAY STREET, NEW YORK X> 



HOLY RHYMER LIBRARY, 




PREFACE 



fO THE SECOND AMERICAN EDITIOlf. 




COUNT DE MONTALEMBEBT S Life of St. Elizabeth, of 
Hwnga/ry has oeen now some years before the public, 
and, though more recently translated into English, ita 
merits are not unknown to the Catholic world. It ia 
a work of such rare merit, in its kind, that wherever it 
goes it will be sure to make friends and admirers for 
itself, and requires not a word of commendation. 
There is a winning charm, a soft poetic halo around 
the whole narrative, that is in admirable keeping with 
the life and character of the charming princess whose 
brief mortal career it chronicles. It required a Mon- 
talembert to write the Life of Elizabeth, and it would 
also require a master s hand to render it faithfully into 
a new language. It is by no means so easy as some 
imagine to translate a book, especially if it be a work 
of genius, for not only does it require an intimate ac 
quaintance with both languages, but also a certain 



PREFACE. 

portion of the creative genius which brought it forth 
from nothing. When Miss Hackett translated the Life 
itself, she omitted the Introduction of the noble author, 
which is certainly a valuable appendage to the work, 
presenting, as it does, a beautiful and graphic picture 
of the Christian world during the half century which 
oicluded the brief career of Elizabeth. This omission 
I endeavored to supply to the best of my ability, fully 
conscious at the same time, that I could hardly do jus 
tice to so admirable a composition. 

In preparing this second edition for the press, 1 
have carefully compared the whole work with the 
original, and I trust it will be found comparatively 
free from the typographical and other errors which 
disfigured the former edition. 



CONTENTS. 



Introduction 9 

L How Duke Hermann reigned in Thuringia, and King Andrew In Hun 
gary, and bow the dear St. Elizabeth was born at Presbourg, and wa 

brought to Eisenach 10ft 

II. How the dear St. Elizabeth honoured God in her Childhood Ill 

III. How the dear St. Elizabeth had to suffer for God 1M 

IV. Bow the young Louis was faithful to the dear St. Elizabeth, and bow he 

married her 1M 

Y. How the Duke Louis, husband of the dear St Elizabeth, waa agreeable 

to God and man 1M 

VI. How the Duke Louis and the dear St. Elizabeth lived together before 

God in the holy state of marriage 140 

VII. How the dear St. Elizabeth practised the virtue of mortification 144 

VIII. Of the great chant/ of the dear St Elizabeth, and of her love of poverty 151 

IX. Of the great devotion and humility of the dear St. Elizabeth 161 

X. How the dear St Elizabeth was known and cherished by the glorious 
St Francis, and how she bad for spiritual director Master Conrad of 

Marbourg 169 

XI. How the Lord was pleased to manifest his grace in the person of the 

dearSt Elizabeth 18t 

XII Hw the Duke Louis protected his poor people 189 

XIII How a great famine devastated Thnrimgia, and how the dear SL Eliza 
beth practised all the works of mercy 194 

XIV. How Duke Louis returned to his wife, and how he rendered true justice 

to his dear monks of Reynhartsbrunn 901 

XV. How the good Duke Louis took up the Cross, and of the great grief 
wherewith he bade farewell to his friends, Ms family, and the dew 

St. ELzabeth 909 

XVI. How Duke Louis died on his way to the Holy Land Si4 

XVIL How the dear St Elizabeth heard of the death of her husband, and of 

her great agony and tribulation H9 

IVIII. How the dear St Elizabeth was driven oat of her castle with her little 
children, and reduced to extreme misery, and ef the great ingratitude 
ef men toward* aer... . 9M 



OOHTKVTS. 

XIX. flaw the All-merciful Jesus consoled the dear 8i ElfcalxAh la her 1M- 
llnoas and misery, and how the sweat and moet element Virgin Mary 

came to Instruct and fortify her 144 

XX flow the dear St. Elizabeth refused to marry a second time, and how 
she consecrated her wedding garments to Jesus, the spouse of her 
soul ttR 

XXI How the dear St. Elizabeth received the remains of her husband, ltd 

how they were interred at Eeynhartsbrunn Ml 

XXII How the Thuringian knights made Duke Henry repent of his wicked 
ness, and made him render ample justice to the dear St. Elizabeth. . 171 

XXIII. How the dear St. Elizabeth renounced the worldly life, and, retiring 

to Marbourg, assumed there the habit of the Order of the glorious 
St Francis *14 

XXIV. Of the great poverty In which the dear St. Elizabeth lived, and how 

she advanced in humility and mercy towards all creatures J8& 

XXV How the dear St. Elizabeth refused to return to her father s kingdom, 

In order that she might more surely enter the kingdom of Heaven. V9 
XXV l. How the dear St Elizabeth distributed all her property amongst the 

poor 802 

XXVII. How the dear St. Elizabeth learned from Master Conrad, how In all 

things to destroy self-will 807 

tXVIII. How the Lord exercised his power and mercy at the intercession of 

the dear St. Elizabeth, and of the marvellous efficacy of her prayers. 811 
XXIX. How the dear St. Elizabeth, when aged twenty-four years, was sum 
moned to the eternal wedding feast 884 

XXX. How the dear St. Elizabeth was buried in the church near her Hos 
pital, and how even the little birds of heaven celebrated her obse 
quies 841 

XXXI. Of the wonderful miracles obtained from God by the intercession of 
the dear St. Elizabeth, and how anxiously her brother-in-law, Duke 
Conrad, wished to have her canonized 844 

XXXII. How the dear St. Elizabeth was canonized by Pope Gregory, and of 
the great joy and veneration of the faithful in Germany, on the ooc*- 
slon of the exaltation of her relics at Marbourg 860 

XXXIIL Of what became of the children and relatives of the dear St Elizabeth 

after her death, and of the great saints that sprung from her raon. . . 884 

XXXIV. Of the noble Church that was erected at Marbourg In honour oi the 
dear St Elizabeth ; and how her precious relic* were prafened; wad 
tee the conclusion of this history Ml 



INTRODUCTION 



ON the 19th of November, 1833, a traveller arrived at 
Marbourg, a city of Electoral Hesse, situated on the pleasant 
banks of the Lahn. He stopped there in order to study the 
Gothic Chnrch which it contains, celebrated not only for its 
rare and perfect beauty, but also because it was the first in 
Germany wherein the ogee prevailed over the full arch, in 
the great revival of art in the 13th century. This basilic 
oears the name of St. Elizabeth, and it happened that the 
traveller in question arrived on the very day of her feast. In 
the church, now Lutheran, like all the country around, 
there was seen no mark of solemnity ; only, in honour of the 
day, it was open, contrary to the practice of Protestants, and 
children were amusing themselves by jumping on the tomb 
stones. The stranger passed along its vast naves, all deserted 
and dismantled, yet still young in their lightness and elegance. 
He saw resting against a pillar the statue of a young woman 
in a widow s dress, her face calm and resigned, one hand hold 
ing the model of a church, and the other giving alms to an 
unhappy cripple ; further on, on bare and naked altars, from 
which no priestly hand ever wiped the dust, he carefully 
examined some ancient painting on wood, half effaced, and 
sculptures in relievo, sadly mutilated, yet all profoundly im 
pressed with the simple and tender charm of Christian art 
In these representations, he distinguished a young woman IB 
1* 



10 

great trepidation, showing to a crowned warrior the skirt of 
her cloak filled with roses ; in another place, that same 
knight angrily drew the covering from his bed, and beheld 
Christ stretched on the cross ; a little farther, the knight and 
the lady were reluctantly tearing themselves asunder after a 
fond embrace ; then again was seen the young woman, fairer 
than ever, extended on her bed of death, surrounded by 
priests and weeping nuns ; in the last place, bishops were 
taking np from a vault a coffin on which an Emperor was 
placing his crown. The traveller was told that these were 
incidents in the history of St. Elizabeth, one of the sovereigns 
of that country, who died just six hundred years ago, in that 
same city of Marbourg, and was buried in that same church. 
In the corner of an obscure sacristy, he was shown the silver 
shrine, richly sculptured, which had contained the relics of the 
Saint, down to the time when one of her descendants, having: 
become a Protestant, tore them out and flung them to the 
winds. Under the stone canopy which formerly overhung 
the shrine, he saw that every step was deeply hollowed, and 
he was told that these were the traces of the innumerable 
pilgrims who came of old to pray at the shrine, but none 
within the last three hundred years. He knew that there 
were in that city some few of the faithful and a Catholic 
priest ; but neither Mass nor any other visible commemora 
tion of the Saint to whom that day was consecrated. 

The stranger kissed the stone hallowed by the knees of 
faithful generations, and resumed his solitary course ; but he 
was ever after haunted by a sad yet sweet remembrance of 
that forsaken Saint, whose forgotten festival he had unwit 
tingly come to celebrate. He set about studying her life;* he 
uccessively ransacked those rich depositories of ancient lite* 



These researches bare since been completed by others IB 
Itety uU n*d*n, espeoiailj in the Vatican and the L*re*tto. 



INTRODUCTION. 11 

rature which abound in Germany. Charmed more and mow 
every day by what he learned of her, that thought gradually 
became the guiding star of his wanderings. After having 
drawn all he could from books and chronicles, and consulted 
manuscripts the most neglected, he wished, after the example 
of the first historian of the Saint, to examine places and 
popular traditions. He went, then, from city to city, from 
castle to castle, from church to ?hurch, seeking everywhere 
traces of her who has always been known in Catholic Ger 
many as the dear Saint Elizabeth. He tried in vain to visit 
her birth-place, Presburg, in farther Hungary ; but he was, 
at least, able to make some stay at that famous castle of 
Wartbourg, whither she came a child, where her girlish days 
were spent, and where she married a husband as pious and as 
.cving as herself ; he could climb the rough paths by which 
she went on her errands of charity to her beloved friends, the 
poor ; he followed her to Creuzburg, where she first became 
a mother ; to the monastery of Reinhartsbrunn, where at 
twenty years of age she had to part with her beloved hus 
band, who went to die for the Holy Sepulchre ; to Bamberg, 
where she found an asylum from the most cruel persecu 
tions to the holy mountain of Andechs, the cradle of her 
family, where she made an offering of her wedding-robe when 
the cherished wife had become a homeless and exiled widow 
At Erfurth he touched with his lips the glass which she left 
the humble nuns as a memento of her visit. Finally, he 
returned to Marbourg, where she consecrated the last days 
of her life to the most heroic works of charity, and where she 
died at twenty-four to pray at her desecrated tomb, and to 
gather with difficulty some few traditions amongst a people 
who, with the faith of their fathers, have i"st their devotion 
to their sweet patroness. 

The result of these protracted researches, of ttese piooi 
pilgrimages, is contained in this book. 



19 INTRODUCTION. 

Often, when wandering through our plastered-up cities, or 
our rural districts, despoiled of their ancient ornaments, and 
fast losing all traces of ancestral life, the sight of a ruin which 
has escaped the spoilers.* ^of a statue lying in the grass, av 
arched door -way, a staved rosace, will arouse the imagiia- 
tion ; the mind is struck, as well as the eye ; our curiosity ii 
excited ; we ask ourselves what part did that fragment play 
in the whole ; we unconsciously fall into contemplation : by 
degrees, the entire fabric rises before our mental vision, and 
when the work of interior reconstruction is completed, we 
behold the Abbey, the Church, the Cathedral, towering aloft 
in all its majestic beauty ; we see the sweep of its vaulted 
roof, and mingle in the crowd of its faithful people, amid the 
symbolic pomp and ineffable harmony of ancient worship. 

Thus it is that the writer of this book, having travelled 
long in foreign countries, and pondered much on past ages, 
has picked up this fragment, which he offers to those who 
have the same faith and the same sympathies as himself, to 
aid them in reconstructing in their mind the sublime edifice 
of the Catholic ages. 

Thanks to the many invaluable monuments of the life of 
St. Elizabeth, which are found in the great historical collec 
tions of Germany as well as in the manuscripts of its libra 
ries ; thanks to the numerous and minute details transmitted 
to us by biographers, some of them contemporaries of St. 
Elizabeth, and others attracted by the charm which her char 
acter and her destiny are sc well calculated to exercise over 
every Catholic mind ; thanks to this singular combination of 
auspicious circumstances, we are able to effect a double pur 
pose in writing this life While closely adhering to the fun 
damental idea of mch a work, viz., to give the life of a Saint, 
* legend of the ages of Faith, we may also hope to furnish a 
faithful picture of the manners and customs of society at a 
period when the empire of the Church and of chivalry WM at 



INTRODUCTION. IS 

its height, It has long been felt that even the purely profant 
history of an age so important for the destinies of mankind, 
might gain much in depth, and in accuracy, from particular 
researches on the object u, the most fervent faith and dearest 
affectkxLs of the men of those times, We may venture to say 
that, in the history of the middle ages, there are few biogra 
phies so well adapted to carry out that view, as the history 
ofSt Elizabeth. 

On the other hand, before we say more of this Saint, and 
the ideas which she represents, it seems to us that we should 
give a sketch of the state of Christianity at the time in which 
she lived, for her life would be totally inexplicable to those 
who neither knew nor could appreciate her age. Not only is 
it that her destiny, her family, and her name, are connected, 
more or less, with a host of the events of those times, but 
that her character is so analogous to what the world then 
saw on a grander scale, that it becomes indispensably neces 
sary for the reader to recall, as he goes along, the principal 
features of the social state wherein her name holds such a dis 
tinguished place. We must, therefore, be allowed to turn 
aside for a moment, before commencing the life of St. Eliza 
beth, in order to depict her contemporaries and her times. 

St. Elizabeth was born in 1207, and died in 1231, so that 
her brief career occurs during that first half of the 13th 
century, which is, perhaps, of all other periods, the most im 
portant, the most complete, and the most resplendent, in the 
history of Catholic society. It would be, it seems to us, diffi 
cult to find, in the glorious annals of the Church, a time when 
her influence over the world and over mankind, in all its de- 
Yelopments, was more v<ist, more prolific, more incontestible. 
Never, perhaps, had the Spouse of Christ reigned with such 
absolute dominion over the mind and heart of nations ; she 
saw all the ancient elements, against which she had so long 
truggled, at length subdued and prostrate at her feet ; th 



*4 IXTftOBUCTIOK. 

entire West ,"owed with respectful IOTC under her holy tow 
In the Ion/} rr.niggle which she had had to sustain, even from 
her divine origin, against the passions and repugnances of 
fallen humanity, never had she more successfully fought, nor 
more vigorously pinioned down her enemies. It is true, her 
victory was far from being, and could not be, complete, since 
jhe is here below only to fight, and expects to triumph only 
in heaven ; but certain it is that then, more than at any 
other moment of that protracted warfare, the love of her 
children, their boundless devotion, their numbers and their 
daily increasing courage, the Saints whom she every day saw 
coming to light amongst them, gave to that immortal mother 
strength and consolation, of which she has since been but too 
cruelly deprived. 

The thirteenth century is the more remarkable, on thii 
point, inasmuch as the close of the twelfth was far from 
being auspicious. In fact, the echo of St. Bernard s voice, 
which seems to have wholly filled that age, had grown feeble 
towards its end, and with it failed the exterior force of the 
Catholic thought. The disastrous battle of Tiberiad, the loss 
of the true Cross, and the taking of Jerusalem by Saladin, 
(1187,) had shown the West overcome by the East, on the 
sac^d soil which the Crusades had redeemed. The debauch 
ery and tyranny of Henry II. of England, the murder of St. 
Fhoinas a Becket, the captivity of Richard Cceur de Lion, 
the violence exercised by Philip Augustus towards his wife 
Ingerburge, the atrocious cruelties of the Emperor Henry 
VII. in Sicily all these triumphs of brute force indicated, 
but too plainly, a certain diminution of Catholic strength ; 
whilst the progress of the Waldensian and Albigensian 
neresies, with the universal complaints of the relaxation of 
the clergy and the religious orders, disclosed a dangeroni 
vil in the very bosom of the Church. But a glorious reaction 
was soon to set in. In the last years if that century ( 1 198,) 



INTRODUCTION. li 

the chair of St. Peter was ascended by a man in the prim* 
of life, who, under the name of Innocent III. was to struggle 
with invincible courage against the enemies of justice and thf 
Church, and to give to the world perhaps the most accom 
plished model of a Sovereign Pontiff, the type, by excellence, 
of the vicar of God. As this grand figure stands oat in bold 
relief from all that age wh.ch he himself inaugurated, we 
must be allowed to give a sketch of his character. Gracioufl 
and benign in his manners endowed with uncommon personal 
beauty warm and confiding in his friendships liberal to 
excess in his alms and in his foundations an eloquent and 
persuasive orator a learned and ascetic writer* a poet eren, 
as we see by his fine prose, Veni, Sancte Spiritus, and the 
Stabat Mater, that sublime elegy composed by him a great 
and profound jurisconsult, as it behoved the supreme judge 
of Christendom to be the zealous protector of science and 
of Christian literature a stern disciplinarian, vigorously 
enforcing the laws and the discipline of the Church he had 
every quality that might make his memory illustrious, had he 
been charged with the government of the Church at a calm 
and settled period, or if that government had then been con 
fined to the exclusive care of spiritual things. But another 
mission was reserved for him. Before he ascended the sacer 
dotal throne, he had understood, and even published in his 
works, the end and destiny of the supreme Pontificate, not 
only for the salvatioir. of souls and the preservation of Catholic 
truth, but for the good government of Christian society 
Nevertheless, feeling no confidence in himself, scarcely is he 
elected when he earnestly demands of all the priests of the 
Catholic world their special prayers that God might enlighten 
and fortify him ; God heard that universal prayer, and gave 



* hi* Sermon* wdW !* 
MWJlMfctt 



I1TTROIMTCTIOW. 

him strength to prosecute and to accomplish the great work 
of St. Gregory YII. In his youth, whilst studying in the 
University of Paris, he had made a pilgrimage to Canterbury, 
to the tomb of St. Thomas the Martyr, and it is easy to 
imagine what inspiration there was for him in those sacred 
relics, and what a fervent zeal he conceived for the freedom 
of the Church, whose victorious champion he afterwards was. 
But whilst he was defending that supreme liberty, the consti 
tution of Europe at that time conferred upon him the glorious 
function of watching, at the same time, over all the interests 
of nations, the maintenance of their rights, and the fulfilment 
of all their duties. He was, during his whole reign of eighteen 
years, at the very height of that gigantic mission. Though 
incessantly menaced and opposed by his own subjects, the 
turbulent people of Rome, he presided over the Church and 
the Christian world with immoveable tranquillity, with cease 
less and minute attention, keeping his eye on every part as a 
father and a judge. From Ireland to Sicily, from Portugal 
to Armenia, no law of the Church is transgressed but he 
takes it up, no injury is inflicted on the weak but he demands 
reparation, no legitimate security is assailed but he protect? 
it. For him, all Christendom is but one majestic unity, but 
one single kingdom, undivided by boundary lines, and without 
any distinction of races ; of which he is, without, the intrepid 
defender, and, within, the impartial and incorruptible judge. 
To shield it agairst its external enemies, he arouses the failing 
ardour of the Crusades ; he shows himself inflamed, beyond 
all men, with that holj desire to battle for the Cross, which 
St Gregory VII. had first conceived, and which had animated 
*11 the Roman Pontiffs till Pius II. died a Crusader. The 
heart of the Popes was then, as it were, the focus whence that 
holy zeal radiated over all the Christian nations ; their eyei 
were ever open to the dangers by which Europe was sur- 
founded, and whila Innocent endeavoured, every year, te 



INTRODUCTION. 11 

send a Christian army against the victorious Saracens of the 
East, in the North he propagated the faith amongst the 
Solaves and Sarmatians, and in the West, urging upon the 
Spanish princes the necessity of concord amongst themselves, 
and a decisive effort against the Moors, he directed them OB 
to their miraculous victories. He brought back to Catholic 
unity, by the mere force of persuasion, and the authority of 
his g-eat character, the most remote kingdoms, such as Ar 
menia and Bulgaria, which, though victorious over the Latin 
armies, hesitated not to bow to the decision of Innocent. To 
a lofty and indefatigable zeal for truth, he well knew how to 
join the highest toleration for individuals ; he protected the 
Jews against the exactions of their princes and the blind fury 
of their fellow-citizens, regarding them as the living witnesses 
of Christian truth, imitating in that respect all his predecessors, 
without one exception. He even corresponded with Maho 
metan princes, for the promotion of peace and their salvation. 
While struggling with rare sagacity and unwearied assiduity 
against the numberless heresies which were then breaking 
out, menacing the foundations of order, social and moral, he 
never ceased to preach clemency and moderation to the 
exasperated and victorious Catholics, and even to the Bishops 
themselves. He long applies himself to bring about, by 
mildness and conciliation, the reunion of the Eastern and 
Western Churches ; tLen, when the unexpected success of the 
fourth Crusade, overthrowing the empire of Byzantium, had 
brought under his dominion that erring portion of the Christian 
irorld, and thus doubled his power, he recommends mildness 
towards the conquered Church, and far from expressing a 
single sentiment of joy or pride on hearing of that conquest, 
he refuses to have any share in the glory and triumph of the 
victors ; he rejects all their excuses, all their pious pretencei, 
because, in their undertaking, they had violated the laws of 
justice, and forgotten the Sepulchre of Christ I It ii that 



IS INTRODUCTION. 

foi dim religion and justice were all, and that with them hi 
identified his life. His soul was inflamed with a passionate 
iOve of justice which no exception of persons, no obstacle, no 
check, could either diminish or restrain ; counting defeat or 
success as nothing, when right was at stake mild and mer 
ciful towards the vanquished and the feeble stern and 
inflexible towards the proud and the mighty everywhere 
and always the protector of the oppressed, of weakness, and 
of equity, against force triumphant and unjust. Thus it was 
that he was seen resolutely defending the sanctity of the 
marriage tie, as the key stone of society and of Christian life. 
No outraged wife ever implored his powerful intervention in 
vain. The world beheld him with admiration struggling for 
fifteen years against his friend and ally, Philip Augustus, in 
defence of the rights of that hapless Ingerburge who had 
come from remote Denmark to be the object of that monarch s 
contempt. Deserted by all, shut up in prison without one 
friend in that foreign land, she was not forgotten by the 
Pontiff, who at length succeeded in reseating her on her 
husband s throne, amid the acclamations of the people, who 
exulted in the thought that there was, even in this world, 
equal justice for all. 

It was in the same spirit that he Batched, with paternal 
boiioitude, over the fate of royal orphans, the lawful heirs 
of crowns, and that even in countries the most remote. We 
gee that he knew how to maintain the rights and preserve 
the patrimony of the princes of Norway, of Holland, and of 
Armenia, (1199,) the Infantas of Portugal, the young king 
Ladislaus of Hungary, and even to the sons of the enemies 
of the Church, such as James of Arragon, whose father had 
been killed fighting for the heretics, and who, being himself 
the prisoner *f the Catholic army, was liberated by order of 
Innocent ; such, also, as Frederic II., sole heir of the imperial 
of Hoheustaufea, the most formidable rival of the Hoty 



INTRODUCTION. If 

See, but who, being left an orphan, to the care of Innocent, 
is brought up, instructed, defended by him, and maintained 
in his patrimony with the affectionate devotion, not only of a 
guardian, but of a father. But still more admirable does he 
appear to us, when offering an asylum, near his throne, to 
the aged Raymond de Toulouse, the old and inveterate 
enemy of Catholicity, with his young son ; when he himself 
pleads their cause against the Prelates and the victorious 
Crusaders ; when, after enriching the young prince with his 
wise and loving counsels, after seeking in vain to soften his 
conquerors, he assigned to him, notwithstanding their mur 
murs, the Earldom of Provence, in order that the innocent 
son of a guilty father might not be left without some inherit 
ance. Is it, then, surprising that, at a period when faith was 
regarded as the basis of all thrones, and when justice, thus 
personified, was seated on the chair of St. Peter, kings should 
seek to unite themselves to it as closely as they could ? If 
the valiant Peter of Arragon thought he could not better 
secure the young independence of his crown than by crossing 
the sea to lay it at the feet of Innocent, and to receive it as 
a vassal from his hand if John of England, pursued by the 
just indignation of his people, also proclaims himself the 
vassal of that Church whu>h he had so cruelly persecuted, 
sure of finding there that refuge and that pardon which men 
denied him or if, besides those two kingdoms, those of 
Navarre, of Portugal, of Scotland, of Hungary, and of Den 
mark, gloried in belonging, in some measure, to the Holy See 
by a special bond of protection ? It was known to all that 
Innocent respected the rights of kings, in regard to th 
Church, as he did those of the Church herself against kings 
Like hi a illustrious predecessors, he united to his love of 
equity a lofty and sagacious policy. Like them, by opposing 
the heirship of the empire in the house of Suabia, by main 
taining the freedom of elections in Germany, he saved that 



10 INTRODUCTION. 

noble country from monarchical centralization, which would 
have changed its whole nature, and stifled the germs of that 
prodigious intellectual fecundity of which she is justly proud. 
Like them, by re-establishing and steadfastly defending the 
temporal authority of the Holy See, he preserved the 
independence of Italy, as well as that of the Church. He 
formed, by his precepts and his example, a whole generation 
of Pontiffs, equally devoted to that independence, and worthy 
of being his auxiliaries. Such were Stephen Langton in 
England, Henry of Gnesen in Poland, and Roderick of 
Toledo in Spain, Foulquet of Toulouse, in the midst of here 
tics ; or worthy of dying for that holy cause, like St. Peter 
Parentice, and Peter de Castelneau.* The glorious life of 
Innocent III. terminates with the famous Council of Lateran, 
(1215,) which he conducted and presided over ; in which all 
the relations of the Church were made fast ; in which the 
judgments of God, having degenerated into an abuse of force, 
were definitely abolished ; in which the paschal communion 
was prescribed ; in which was established that criminal pro- 
cessf which has served as a model for all secular tribunals ; 
finally, wherein were introduced, so to speak, to the Christian 
vrorld, those two great orders of St. Dominick and St. Francis, 
which were to infuse into it a new life. Innocent had the 
glory and the consolation of seeing both these illustrious 
orders spring up under his Pontificate. J 

The successors of this great Pope were not unworthy of 
him, and exhibited, for upwards of half a century, the sublime 
spectacle of a struggle sustained, with faith and justice alone, 



Killed by thi heretics, the former at Orvieto, in 1199 ; the latter in Langaed** 
tai 1209. 

t In the eighth canon of this council. 

$ It is well known that M. Hurter a Protestant writer, has, by his Life of!n*+~ 
5t ///. ar,d his Contemporaries, raised a monument to the glory of that 
Pontiff and tbe Church, and merits the gratitude of every friend of truth 



INTRODUCTION. 

against all the resources of genius and of human power, con 
eeiitrated in the Emperor Frederic II., and employed for th 
iuccesa of material force. Honorius III. has first to contend 
with that ungrateful ward of the Holy See. Mild and 
oatient, he seems placed between two stern and inflexible 
combatants, Innocent III. and Gregory IX., as if to show 
how far Apostolical meekness may go. He preached tc 
kings his own gentleness ; he exhausted his treasury to furnish 
the e ipeuses of the Crusade. He had the happiness of con 
firming the three holy orders which were, in some manner, to 
revive the fire of charity and faith in the heart of Christian 
nations; the Dominicans (1226), the Franciscans (1223), 
and the Carmelites (1226). Notwithstanding his mildness, 
he was forced to place the Emperor for the first time under 
the ban of the Church, leaving Gregory IX. to carry on the 
contest. The latter, who was eighty years old when his brow 
was encircled with the tiara (1227), showed, during his reign 
of fifteen years, the most indomitable energy, as though he 
grew young again in becoming the depository of the delegated 
power of the Eternal. He it was who was the friend and 
protector of that St. Elizabeth who has brought us to the 
study of this age ; he made her acquainted with St. Francis 
of Assisium, whose heroic virtue she well knew how to imi 
tate ; he protected her in her widowhood and cruel desertion ; 
and when God had called her to Himself, he proclaimed her 
right to the perpetual veneration of the faithful, and placed 
her name upon the calendar. But he was, also, the protector 
of the helpless and the oppressed in every rank of life ; and, 
whilst he gave his support to the royal widow of Thuringia, 
ne extended his paternal solicitude over the meanest seriB of 
rsmolest Christendom, as shown by his letter to the Polish 
nobles, wherein he bitterly reproaches them for wearing away 
the life cf their vassals, redeemed and ennobled by the blood 
ef Christ, in training falcons or birds of prey. The zealow 



2 INTRODUCTION. 

friend of true science, he founds the University of Toulouse, 
and has that of Paris re-established by St. Louis, not without 
a wise protest against the encroachments of profane philoso- 
phj on theology. By the collection of the Decrees, he hai 
the glory of giving the Church her code, which was then that 
of society at large. The worthy nephew of Innocent III., he 
always knew how to unite justice and firmness ; being recon 
ciled with Frederic II., after having at one time excommuni 
cated him, he sustained him with noble impartiality against 
the revolt of his son, Henry (1235), and even against the 
exacting demands of the Lombard cities, though they were 
the most faithful allies of the Church (1237). When the 
Emperor subsequently violates his most solemn engagements, 
and that he is once more obliged to excommunicate him, how 
beautiful it is to see that old man, almost an hundred years 
and he is once more ob iged to excommunicate him, how 
beautiful it is to see that old man, almost an hundred yean 
old, bracing himself up for a desperate struggle, yet charging 
be most careful of the prisoners ; then, when conquered and 
abandoned by all, besieged in Rome by Frederic, leagued with 
the Romans themselves against him, he finds at that terrible 
moment, and in the bosom of human weakness, that strength 
which belongs but to things divine. Taking forth the relics 
of the holy Apostles, he has them carried in procession 
through the city, and demands of the Romans whether they 
will permit that sacred deposit to perish before their eyes, 
since he could no longer defend them without their assist 
ance ; immediately their heart is touched they swear to 
conquer or die for their holy Pontiff the Emperor is repulsed 
and the Church delivered. 

After him came Innocent IV., (1242.) who, though ny 
to the very moment of his election a friend and partisan of 
Frederic, is no sooner elected than he sacrifices all his former 
ties to the august mission confided to him, aud that admin bit 



INTRODUCTION. 79 

anity of purpose which had for two hundred year* animated 
all his predecessors. Persecuted, menaced, shut up between 
the Imperial columns which, from Germany in the north, and 
Sicily in the south, gather around the doomed city which ii 
low his prison. He must endeavour tc escape. Where is he 
to find an asylum ? Every sovereign in Europe, even St. 
Louis, refuses to receive him. Happily, Lyons is free, and 
belongs only to an independent Archbishop. There Innocent 
assembles all the Bishops who could escape from the tyrant, 
and his venerable brothers, the Cardinals; to the latter he 
gives the scarlet hat, to denote that they should always be 
ready to shed their blood for the Church ; and then, from 
that supreme tribunal which Frederic had himself invoked 
and recognised, and before which his advocates came sol 
emnly to plead his cause, the fugitive Pontiff fulminates, 
against the most powerful sovereign of that time, the sen 
tence of deposition, as the oppressor of religious liberty, the 
spoiler of the Church, a heretic and a tyrant. Glorious and 
ever-memorable triumph, of right over might of faith over 
material interest ! The third act of that sacred drama, 
wherein St. Gregory VII. and Alexander III. had already 
trampled under foot the rebellious element, amid the accla 
mations of saints and men 1 We all know how Providence 
took upon itself the ratification of this sentence ; we are 
familiar with the fall of Frederic and his latter years, the 
premature death of his son, and the total ruin of that formi 
dable race?. 

As an admirable proof of the entire confidence placed 
in the integrity of the Holy See, it is worthy of remark that, 
as Frederic himself was left, when an orphan, in his cra 
dle, to the care of Innocent III., so the friends and alliei 
ef his grandson, Conradine, the last of the house of Suabia, 
would not intrust him to any other guardian than the very 
Pou tiff who had deposed his grander* ; and who 



M UTTfcODUCTIOir. 

his trust loyally and well, till it was torn from his grasp by 
the perfidious Mainfroy. 

The struggle continues against the latter, and all the othei 
enemip of the Church, carried on with the same intrepidity, 
the same perseverance, under Alexander IV., (1254,) a worthy 
descendant of that family of Conti, which had already given 
to the world Innocent III. and Gregory IX. ; and after him, 
under Urban IT., (1261,) that shoemaker s son who, far 
from being ashamed of his origin, had his father painted on 
the church windows of Troves, working at his trade ; who 
had the honour of providing a new aliment for Catholic piety 
by instituting the Feast of the Most Holy Sacrament (1264) ; 
and who, unshaken in the midst of the greatest dangers, dies, 
not knowing where to rest his head, but leaving to the 
Church the protection of the brother of St. Louis, and a 
French monarchy in the Sicilies. This conquest is completed 
under Clement IV., who sues in vain for the life of Conradine, 
the innocent and expiatory victim of the crimes of his family. 
And thus ends for a while that noble war of the Church 
against State oppression, which was to be renewed with far 
different results, but not less gloriously, under Boniface VIII. 

It must not be forgotten that, whilst these great Pontiffs 
were carrying on this warfare to the very utmost, far from 
being wholly engrossed by it, they gave to the internal organi 
zation of the Church, and of society, as much attention as 
though they were in a state of profound peace. The? con 
tinued, one after another, v/ith invincible perseverance, the 
colossal work wherewith they were charged since the fall of 
the Roman empire the work of grinding and kneading 
together all the divers elements of those Germanic and north 
ern tribes who had overrun and conquered Europe, distin 
guishing therein all that was good, pure, and s*utary, in 
order to sanctify and civilize it, and rejecting all that wai 
truly barbarous At the same time, and with the same -K 



INTRODUCTION. X 

fUncy, did they propagate science and learning, placing them 
within reach of all ; they consecrated the natural equality of 
the human race, calling to the highest dignities of the Church 
nen born in the lowest classes, for whatever little learning or 
nrtue they might have ; they fabricated and promulgated 
the magnificent code of ecclesiastical legislation, and that 
clerical jurisdiction, the benefits of which were the more sen 
sibly felt, inasmuch as it alone knew neither torture nor any 
cruel punishment, and that it alone made no exception of 
persons amongst Christians. 

It is true that, in the bosom of the Church which had 
such chiefs, many human miseries were found mixed up with 
so much greatness and sanctity ; it will always be so whilst 
things divine are intrusted to mortal hands ; but we may be 
allowed to doubt whether there was less at any other period, 
and whether the rights of God and those of humanity were 
defended with nobler courage, or by more illustrious cham 
pions. 

In front of that majestic Church arose the second power, 
before which the men of those times bent in homage ; that 
Holy Roman Empire, from which all secondary royaltiei 
seemed to flow. Unhappily, since the end of the Saxon 
dynasty, in the eleventh century, it had passed into the hands 
of two families, in whom the great and pious spirit of Char 
lemagne was gradually extinguished those of Franconia and 
Suabia. These substituted a new spirit, impatient of all 
spiritual restraint, glorying only in the force of arms and the 
feudal system, and always aiming at the amalgamation of the 
two p >wers, absorbing the Church in the Empire. That fatal 
purpose, defeated by St. Gregory VII., in the person of 
Henry IV., and by Alexander III. in that of Frederick 
Barbarossa, made a new effort in Frederick II.; but he, too, 
found his conquerors on the chair of St. Peter. This Frede 
rick II. occupied all that half-century which his reign alnxvl 



36 IFTRODUCTIOir 

wholly emb-aces.* It seems to us impossible, even for the 
most prejudiced mind, not to be struck by the immtLbe differ 
ence between the commencement of his reign, in the days 
when he was faithful to the Roman Church, which had so 
carefully watched over his minority, f and the last twenty 
years of his life, during which the glory of his earlier yean 
was tarnished and their high promise cruelly blighted. No 
thing could be more splendid, more poetical, more grand, than 
that imperial court presided over by a young and gallant 
prince, endowed with every noble quality both of mind and 
body an enthusiastic lover of the arts, of poetry, and of 
literature ; himself acquainted with six languages, and well 
versed in many of the sciences ; bestowing on the kingdom 
of Sicily, whilst the Pope crowned him in Rome, (1220,) a 
code of laws the wisest and best framed, and altogether re 
markable for their perfection ; and subsequently, after his 
first reconciliation with the Holy See, publishing at Mayence 
the first laws that Germany had had in its own tongue ; gath 
ering around him the flower of the chivalry of his vast domin 
ions, giving them the example of valour and poetic genius in 
the royal halls of Sicily, wherein were brought together the 
divers elements of Germanic, Italian and Eastern civilization. 
It was this very mixture that caused his ruin. He would 
have been, says a chronicler of those times, without an equal 
on earth, had he but loved his own soul, but he had an unfor 
tunate predilection for Eastern life. He who was at one time 
thought of as a husband for St. Elizabeth, when she was left 
a widow, and who was actually a suitor for the hand of St 
A.gnes of Bohemia, J soon after shut himself up in a disgraceful 

* King of Sicily in 1198; Emperor in 1215; died in 1250. 

t Innocent III., Honorius III., and Gregory IX., had, all three, & share In oiiuf 
lag him up the first as Pope, and the other two as Cardinals. 

$ She refused him in order to become a Franciscan nun; the Emprr, 
having it, said: "If she had preferred any other man to me, I wou.d ttv h* 
b t since ab hu only preferred God, I can say nothing " 



INTRODUCTION 77 

ttraglio, surrounded by Saracen guards. By the side of thii 
moral sensualism, he speedily proclaims a sort of political 
materialism which was, at least, premature in the thirteenth 
century. He shocks all the ideas of Christianity by going 
to the Holy Sepulchre as the ally of the Mussulman princes, 
and no longer as the conqueror of the Holy Land. On hii 
return to Europe, not satisfied with the magnificent position 
of a Christian Emperor, the first amongst the mighty and the 
powerful, and not the master of a multitude of slaves the 
protector of the Church, and not her oppressor, he begins to 
scatter amongst men the seeds of those fatal doctrines which 
have since borne but too abundant fruit. Intoxicated by the 
height of his power, like Louis XIV. and Napoleon in after 
times, he could not endure the intervention of spiritual power; 
and he caused his Chancellor, Peter des Vignes, to proclaim 
that the disposal of all things, both human and divine, be 
longed of rignt to the Emperor. That age, however, was 
still too Christian to tolerate such an invasion of the vital 
force of Christianity. A far different spirit was then required, 
even in the lay power, to govern minds and convictions ; such 
was found in St. Louis of France. Hence, we see this Fred 
eric, who, according to that holy king, had made war on Goa 
with his own gifts, stricken with the anathemas of the Church, 
progressing every day in cruelty, perfidy, and duplicity;* load- 
ing his people with fines and taxes ; giving every reason to 
doubt his faith by his excessive debauchery, and, finally, dying 
in retirement at the extreme end of Italy, smothered by hii 
own son, in the very midst of his Saracens, whose attachment 
only served to make him suspected by Christians. Under his 
reign, as under those of his predecessors, Germany ( which, 
indeed, paw but little of him) was in a flourishing condition ; 

* For itstanoe, the torture Inflicted on the son of the Dog* Ttepolo, on the BLshof 
f Areao, and the imprisonment of the Cardinals who repaired to the 0ua* 
wblrli ulnuelf had demanded 



28 INTRODUCTION. 

she saw the power of the Wittelsbachs grow in Bavaria ; sh 
admired the splendour of the Austrian princes, Frederic the 
Victorious, and Leopold the Glorious, whv> was said to be 
brave as a lion, and modest as a young virgin ; she extolled 
the virtues of the house of Thuringia, under the father-in-law 
and the husband of St. Elizabeth ; she saw in the Archbishop 
Engelbert of Cologne a martyr to justice and public safety, 
whom the Church hastened to enrol amongst her Saints. Her 
cities, like those of the Low Countries, were developing them 
selves with a mighty and a fruitful individuality ; Cologne and 
Lubeck were at the height of their influence, and the famous 
Hanse league was beginning to be formed. Her legislation 
was grandly developed under the two dynasties of Saxony 
and Suabia, together with a number of other local codes, all 
based on respect for established rights and ancient liberties, 
and breathing such a noble mixture of the Christian thought 
with the elements of old Germanic right, yet unaltered by 
the Ghibeline importation of the Roman right. Iii fine, she 
already reckoned amongst her knights a true Christian mon 
arch ; for, under the shadow of the throne of the Hohen- 
staufens, there was silently springing up, in the person of 
Rodolph of Hapsburgh, a prince worthy to be the founder 
of an imperial race, since he saved his country from anarchy, 
and displayed to the world a fitting representative of Charle 
magne. It is easy to guess what his reign must be, when, at 
hie consecration, finding no sceptre, he seized the crucifix on 
the altar, and exclaimed, " Behold my sceptre ! I want H3 
other." 

If the Empire seemed to have departed from its natural 
course, it was in some measure replaced by France, who took 
from her that character of sanctity and grandeur which was 
to shed so much lustre on the Most Christian monarchy. Yet 
she herself contained within her bosom a deep wound which 
must be healed at any cost, if she would maintain her unity, 



INTRODUCTION. 29 

and carry out her high destiny. We a.lude to that nest of 
heresies both anti-social and anti-religious which disgraced the 
south, and had its seat amongst those corrupt masses known to 
history as the Albigenses. The world is now well acquainted 
with the character and the doctrines of those men, who were 
worthily represented by princes whose debaucheries make ui 
shudder, and who have been so long extolled by lying historian! 
at the expense of religion and truth. It is well known that thej 
were at least as much persecutors as they were persecuted; 
and that they were the aggressors against the common law of 
society at that time. Not only France, but even Spain and 
Italy, would have been then lost to faith and true civilization, 
if the Crusade had not been victoriously preached against that 
iniquitous centre of Pagan and Oriental doctrines. There is 
no doubt that, in putting down that rebellion against Chris 
tianity, means were too often employed which Christian charity 
could not approve, and which were censured by the Holy See 
even at the height of that fierce contest. But it is now 
icknowledged that those cruelties were, at least, reciprocal; 
and no one has yet, as far as we know, devised the means of 
making war, and especially religious war, with mildness and 
lenity. It is true that Simon de Montfort, who was, during 
that terrible struggle, the champion of Catholicity, did some 
what tarnish his glory by a too great ambition and a severity 
which we cannot excuse ; but enough remains to warrant 
Catholics in publishing his praise. There are few characters 
In history so great as his, whether in energy, perseverance, 
courage, or contempt of death; and when we think of the 
fervour and humility of his piety, the inviolable purity of hia 
morals, with that inflexible devotion to ecclesiastical authority, 
rhich made him retire alone from the camp of the Crusaders 
Before Zara, because the Pope had forbidden him to make war 
on Christians, we may then make allowance for his feelings 
towards those who disturbed the peace of consciences ani 



SO IJTTRODUCTIOK. 

overturned all tne barriers of morality. His own character 
and that of his age are conjointly depicted in the words which 
he pronounced when about to undertake an unequal contest 
"The whole Church prays for me I cannot fail." And again, 
when pursued by the enemy, and having, with his cavalry, 
crossed a river which the infantry could not pass, he went 
back again with five men only, crying out: " The little one 
of Christ are exposed to death, and shall I remain in safety ? 
Let God s will be done I must certainly stay with them." 

The decisive battle of Muret (1212), which secured the 
triumph of faith, likewise shows the nature of that struggle, 
by the contrast of the two leaders; on the one side, de Mont- 
brt, at the head of a handful of men, seeking in prayer and 
,he sacraments the right of demanding a victory, which could 
only come by miracle ; on the other, Peter of Arragon, coming 
there, enfeebled by debauchery, to fight and be slain in tho 
midst of his numerous army. 

Whilst this struggle was drawing to a close, and preparing 
for the direct reunion of the conquered provinces with the 
crown of France, a king worthy of his surname Philip Au 
gustus was investing that crown with the first rays of that 
glory and that moral influence, " based on religion," which it 
was so long to maintain. While still young, he was asked 
what it was that occupied his mind during his long and fre 
quent reveries ? " I am thinking," he replied, "of the means 
of restoring to France the power and the glory which she had 
under Charlemagne," and during his long and glorious reign 
he never ceased to show himself faithful to that great thought. 
The reunion of Normandy and the provinces, wrested away bj 
the unprincipled John Lackland, laid the first foundatico of 
the power of the French monarchs. After having done hit 
Dest for the cause of Christ in the Crusades, he showed him- 
lelf, during his whole life, the friend and faithful supporter of 
the Church; and he proved it by the mott painful gacriicr 



Si 

In OTercoming his rooted aversion for the wife whom Rome 
imposed upon him. Reconciled with his people through his 
reconciliation with her, he soon after received his reward from 
heaven, in the great victory of Bouvines (1215;) a victory ai 
much religious as national, obtained over the enemies of the 
Church as over those of France. This is sufficiently proved 
by all that historians have transmitted to us, regarding the 
impious projects of the confederates, who were all excommu 
nicated by the fervent prayers of the priests during the bat 
tie, and by the noble words of Philip to his soldiers "The 
Church prays for us: I am going to fight for her, for France, 
and for you." Around him fought all the heroes of French 
chivalry Matthieu de Moutmorency, Enguerrand de Coucy, 
Guillaume des Barres, and Guerin de Senlis, at the same time 
pontiff, minister, and warrior. The enemy being defeated, thej 
joined their king in founding, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, 
the abbey of Is n tre Dame de la Yictoire, intended to consecrate, 
by the name of the Virgin, the memory of a triumph which 
had sa^ed the independence of France. 

The greatness of the French Monarchy, and its sway over 
the southern provinces which it was finally to absorb, contin 
ued to increase under the short but prosperous reign of Louis 
VIII., and under the brilliant regency of Blanche of Castile 
thdt most tender mother and wise sovereign who said she 
would rather see all her children dead than to know them 
to be guilty of one mortal sin, and who was iot less solicitous 
for their temporal than their spiritual weltare , Blanche, the 
worthy object of the romantic love of Thibaut de Champagne, 
the poet-kiug, and who had such a tender devotion for our St 
Elizabeth. This regency worthily announces the reign of St 
Louis, thnt model of IMQJTS to whom the historian s mind r- 
rerts w. perlmps, the most a<foro|*IUhed personage of modem 
times, whilst the Christian venerates him as having possessed 
T*ery Yirtae that can merit heaven. While reading th history 



83 INTRODUCTION. 

of that life, at once so touching and so sublime, ^e ask if evef 
the King of heaven had on earth a more faithful servant than 
that angel, crowned for a time with a mortal crown, in order 
to show the world how man can transfigure himself by charity 
and faith. What Christian heart is there that does not throb 
with admiration, while considering the character of St Louis ? 
that sense of duty so strong and so pure, that lofty and most 
scrupulous love of justice, that exquisite delicacy of conscience, 
which induced him to repudiate the unlawful acquisitions of hii 
predecessors, even at the expense of the public safety, and the 
affection of his subjects that unbounded love of his neigh 
bour, which filled his whole heart; which, after pouring itself 
out on his beloved wife, his mother and his brothers, whose 
death he so bitterly mourned, extended itself to all classes of 
his subjects, inspired him with a tender solicitude for the souls 
of others, and conducted him in his leisure moments to the 
cottage of the poor, whom he himself relieved! Yet, with all 
these saintly virtues, he was brave even to rashness ; he was at 
once the best knight and the best Christian in France, as he 
showed at Taillebourg and at Massoure. It was because death 
had no terrors for him, whose life was devoted to the service 
of God and his justice; who spared not even his own brother 
when he violated its holy rules; who was not ashamed, before 
his departure for the Holy Land, to send mendicant monk* 
throughout his kingdom, in order to inquire of the meanest of 
his subjects if any wrong had been done them in the king** 
name, and if so, to repair it immediately at his expense. Hence, 
as though he were the impersonation of supreme justice, he 
is chosen as the arbitrator in all the greatest questions of 
his time between the Pope and the Emperor between the 
English barons and their king a captive in the handa of the 
infidels, he is still taken as judge. Drawn twice by his love 
of Christ to the land of the barbarians, he first meets cap 
tivity, and then death a species of martyrdom it wa tht 



UTTHODUOTIOH. 33 

only martyrdom he could have obtained the only deatl hat 
was worthy of him. On his death-bed he dictates to b son 
his memorable instructions, the finest words ever spok by 
the mouth of a king. 

Just before he expired, he was heard to murmur -" O 
Jerusalem ! Jerusalem !" Was it the heavenly or the e /thly 
Jerusalem that he thus apostrophized in regret, or in s> blime 
hope ? He would not enter the latter by treaty, and w thout 
his army, lest his example should authorize other Ch T istlan 
kings to do the same. But they did better: not one went 
there after him. He was the last of the Crusader krigs 
the truly Christian kings the last, and assuredly the greatest 
He has left us two immortal monuments his oratory and his 
tomb the Holy Chapel and St. Denis both of them pure, 
simple, and pointing heavenward like himself. But he left one 
still fairer and more lasting in the memory of the nations 
the oak of Vincennes. 

In England, the perverse race of the Norman kings all 
oppressors of their people, and furious oppressors of the Church 
had only to oppose to Philippe Auguste the infamous John 
Sans Terre (Lack-land), and to St. Louis only the pale and 
feeble Henry III. But if royalty is there at its lowest ebb, 
the Church shines in all her splendour, and the nation suc 
cessfully defends her most important rights. The Church had 
been happily blessed in England with a succession of great 
men in the primatial see of Canterbury, perhaps unequaJ ed in 
her annals. Stephen Langton was, under the reign of J^hn, 
the worthy representative of Innocent III., and the wor iy 
successor of St. Dunstan, de Lanfranc, St. Anselm, and St 
Thomas a Becket. After having courageously defended th 
ecclesiastical privileges, he places himself at the head of tht 
insurgent barons, and raised an army for God and the fo>/j 
Church, which forced from the king that famous Maqna 
Charta the basis of that English constitution which th 
2* 



14 INTRODUCTION. 

moderns hare so much admired, forgetting, doubtless, that it 
wis but the effect of feudal organization, and that this very 
charter, far from being an innovation, was only the re-establish 
ment of the laws of St. Edward, a confirmation of the public 
right in Europe at that time, founded on the maintenance 
>f all ancient and individual rights. Under Henry III., who 
was only kept on his tottering throne by the power of the 
Holy See preventing the reunion with France, which would 
have followed the conquest of the son of Philip Augustus, 
the Church had then, too, her courageous defenders, and her 
noble victims, in St. Edmund of Canterbury, who died in exile 
in 1242, and St. Richard of Winchester; and the nation ac 
complished the achievement of her liberties, under the leader 
ship of the noble son of Simon de Montfort, brave and pious 
as his father, who was defeated and killed at the end of his 
career, but not before he had made that popular war a 
Crusade, and introduced the delegates of the people into 
the first political assembly which bore that name, since so 
irlorious the British Parliament (1258.) 

About the same time, there was seen in Scotland the 
pious Kintr William, an ally of Innocent III., commanding 
that all labourers should rest from their toil on the after 
noon of every Saturday; this in order tc testify his love 
of God and the Blessed Virgin (1202.) In the Scan 
dinavian kingdoms, the thirteenth century commences under 
the great Archbishop Absolom de Lund (1201) an intrepid 
warrior and a holy pontiff the benefactor and civilizer of 
those northern tribes. Sweden was progressing under the 
grandson of St Eric; and Norway, which had retained the 
uost traces of the old Germanic constitution, was enjoying 
mwonted peace, under Haquin V. (1217-1263), her princi 
pal legislator. Waldemar the Victorious (1202-1252), the 
most illustrious o/ the kings of Denmark, extended his empirt 
over all the southern coasts of the Baltic, and preluding tht 



IKTRODUCTIOH. 35 

inion of Calmar, conceived, and was on the point of execu 
ting, the grand project of uniting, under om chief, all the 
countries bordering on the Baltic, when the battle of Born- 
hoTeden (1227) gave the Germanic tribes the supremacy over 
the Scandinavians. But, throughout all his conquests, he 
never lost sight of the conversion of heathen nations, of which 
he was constantly reminded by the Holy See. His exertions 
for the propagation of the faith in Livonia were seconded by 
those of the order of Porte-Glaius, founded solely for tLa( 
purpose in 1203, and afterwards by those of the Teutonic 
knights. The removal of the chief strength of this last order 
into Prussia, in order to implant Christianity there (1234), 
is an immonse fact in the history of religion and of the civili 
sation of Northern Europe. If human passions found their 
way all too soon into that Crusade, which lasted for two cen 
turies, we still must bear in mind that it was only through it 
that Christianity found its way amongst those obstinate and 
self-willed tribes, while, at the same time, we must admire 
what the Popes did to soften the rule of the conquerors.* 

Casting our eye along the same geographical line, we see 
Poland already manifesting the foundations of the orthodox 
kingdom :f Archbishop Henry of Gnesen, the legate of Inno 
cent III., restored discipline and ecclesiastical freedom, despite 
the opposition of Duke Ladislaus : St. Hedwige, aunt of our 
Elizabeth, seated on the Polish throne, gave the example of 
the most austere virtues, and offered up, as a holocaust, her 
eon, who died a martyr for the faith, fighting against the 
Tartars. Poland, presenting an impassable barrier against 
the advance of those terrible hordes, who had enslaved Rns- 
ria, and overrun Hungary, poured out rivert-. of her best blood 



in 1219, a legate from thr Pop** went to Prussia, to MCIU* to tb 
*^U the freedom of marriage and successions, Ac 
f A* titl* lno givftD by tb Popw to 



S6 INTRODUCTION. 

during all that century thus preparing to become, what ihft 
has ever since been, the glorious martyr of Christendom. 

Descending once more towards the south of Europe, and 
contemplating that Italy which was wont to be the most 
brilliant and the most active of the Christian nations, the soul 
*s at *\rst saddened at the sight of those cruel and intermina*- 
ole struggles of the Guelphsand Ghibelines, and all that vast 
empire of hatred which diffused itself throughout the land 
under favour of that war of principles in which those parties 
had their origin. It is this fatal element of hatred which seems 
to predominate at every period of the history of Italy. It 
was connected with a certain pagan and egotistical policy a 
lingering memory of the old Roman republic, which prevailed 
in Italy, through all the middle ages, over that of the Church 
or the Empire, and blinded the Italians in a great degree to 
the salutary influence of the Holy See, whose first subjecta 
they should have been, and whose power and devotion they 
had a good opportunity of appreciating, during the long con 
test between the Emperors and the Lombard cities. But, 
however disgusted we may be by those dissensions which rend 
the very heart of Italy, we cannot help admiring the physical 
and moral energy, the ardent patriotism, the profound convio- 
tions impressed on the history of every one of the innumerable 
republics which cover its surface. We are amazed at that 
incredible fecundity of monuments, institutions, foundations, 
great men of all kinds, warriors, poets, artists, whom wo 
behold springing up in each of those Italian cities, now so 
desolate and forlorn. Never, assuredly, since the classic ages 
of ancient Greece, was there seen such a mighty development 
of human will, such a marvellous value given to man and hif 
works, so much life in so small a space I But when we think 
of the prodigies of sanctity which the thirteenth century saw 
in Italy, we easily understand the bond which kept all those 
impetuous souls together, we remember that river of Christian 



INTRODUCTION.. 37 

charity which flowed on, deep and incommensurable, under 
those wild storms and raging seas. In the midst of that uni 
versal confusion, cities grow and flourish, their population ii 
often tenfold what it now is masterpieces of art are pro 
duced commerce every day increases and science makes 
still more rapid progress. Unlike the Germanic States, all 
political and social existence is concentrated with the nobles 
in the cities, none of which, however, was then so predominant 
as to absorb the life of the others ; and this free concurrence 
amongst them may explain, in part, the unheard of strength 
which they had at command. The league of the Lombard 
cities, flourishing since the peace of Constance, successfully 
withstood all the efforts of the imperial power. The Crusades 
had given an incalculable stimulus to the commerce and pros 
perity of the maritime republics of Genoa and Venice ; the 
latter, especially, under her doge, Henry Dandola, a blind 
old hero of four score, became a power of the first order by 
the conquest of Constantinople, and that quarter and half of 
the Eastern Empire, of which she was so long proud. The 
league of the Tuscan cities, sanctioned by Innocent III., gave 
new security to the existence of those cities whose history 
equals that of the greatest empires the cities of Pisa, Lucca, 
and Sienna, which solemnly made themselves over to the 
Blessed Virgin before the glorious victory of Arbia, and 
Florence especially, perhaps the most interesting coalition of 
modern times. At every page of the annals of these cities, 
one finds the most touching instances of piety, and of the 
most elevated patriotism. To quote but one amongst a thou 
sand, when we see people complain, like those of Ferrara, 
that they are not taxed heavily enough for the wants of the 
country, we cannot bring ourselves to be severe on institu 
tions which allow of such a degree of disinterestedness and 
patriotism. By the side of this purely Italian movement, it 
is certain that the great struggle between the spiritual and 



9 INTRODUCTION. 

the tencporal power was nowhere so manifested as there j 
and, indeed, the latter, reduced to the necessity of being rep 
resented by the atrocious Eccelin, the lieutenant of Frede 
rick II., sufficiently demonstrates the moral superiority of the 
cause of the Church The South of Italy, under the sceptre 
of the house of Suabia, was indebted to Frederick II. and hig 
Chancellor, Pierre des Vignes, for the benefit of a wise and 
complete legislation, with all the splendour of poetry ai;d the 
arts ; but at the same time it was overrun, through that Em 
peror and his son, Mainfroi, with Saracen colonies, until 
Rome called in a new French race the house of Anjou 
which came, like the brave Normans of old, to maintain the 
independence of the Church, and close that gate of Europe 
against the infidels. 

But if the Catholic historian has much to deplore in study 
ing the history of Italy, he finds in the Spain of the thirteenth 
century an object of unmixed admiration. That was, in every 
respect, the heroic age of that most noble nation, the age in 
which it gained both its territory and independence, with the 
glorious title of the Catholic monarchy. Of the two great 
divisions of the Peninsula, we first see in Aragon, after that 
Peter III., whom we have seen voluntarily holding his crown 
from Innocent III., and yet dying at Muret in arms against 
the Church, his son, Don James the Conqueror, whose wife 
was a sister of St. Elizabeth, who won his surname by taking 
Majorca and Valencia from the Moors, who wrote, like Casar 
his own chronicle, and who, during a reign of sixty-four yea* 3 
of unceasing warfare, was never conquered, gained thirty 
victories, and founded two thousand churches. In Castile, 
the century opens with the reign of Alphonso the Short, 
founder of the order of St. James, and of the University of 
Salamanca. Those two great events redound to the fame 
of the illustrious Roderick Ximenes, Archbishop of Toledo 
(1208-1215), the worthy precursor of him who wai, tw 



INTRODUCTION. 4V 

later, to immortalise the same name ; he was, like 
many of the prelates of that age, an intrepid warrior, a pro 
found politician, an eloquent preacher, a faithful historian, 
and a bountiful almoner This king and his primate were the 
heroes of the sublime achievement of las Navas de Toloso 
(16th July 1212,) when Spain did for Europe what France 
had done uuder Charles Martel, and what Poland afterward 
did under John Sobieski, when she saved her from the irrup 
tion of four hundred thousand Mussulmans, coming on her 
from the rear The sway of the Crescent was broken in that 
glorious engb^ement the true type of a Christian battle 
consecrated ii* the memory of the people by many a miracu 
lous tradition, and which the great Pope Innocent III could 
not worthily -elebrate but by instituting the feast of the 
Triumph of the Cross, which is even now solemnised on that 
day in Spain. Uphouso was succeeded by St. Ferdinand, 
a contemporary *nd cousin-germau of St. Louis, who was no 
disgrace to his illustrious kindred, for, like St. Louis, he 
united all the iherits of the Christian warrior to all the vir 
tues of the Saini, and the most tender love for his people 
with the most ardent love for God. He would never consent 
to load his people tfith new taxes : " God will otherwise pro 
vide for our defence," said he, " 1 am more afraid of the curse 
of one poor womai than of all the Moorish host." And yet 
he carries on, with unequalled success, the work of national 
enfranchisement ; he takes Cordova, the seat of the Caliphate 
of the West, and after having dedicated the principal mosque 
to the Blessed Virgin, he brings back to Composttila, on the 
shoulders of the Moors, the bells which the Caliph Almanzor 
aad forced the Christians to carry away from it. Conquering 
the kingdom of Murcia in 1240, that of Jaen in 1246, of Se 
ville again in 1248, he left the Moors only Grenada : but 
humble in the midst of all his glcry, and extended on his bed 
of death, he weeping exciaimi : " my lord I Thou haal 



40 INTRODUCTION. 

Buffered so much for love of me ! and I unhappy that I am! 
what have I done for love of thee ?" 

Spain had her permanent crusade on her own soil ; the 
rest of Europe went afar to seek it, either northward against 
the barbarians, or southward against the heretics, or east 
ward against the profaners of the Holy Sepulchre. That 
great thought prevailed from time to time over all locai ques 
tions, all personal passions, and absorbed them all into one. 
It expired only with St. Louis ; and was still in all its vigour 
during the first half of the thirteenth century. In its opening 
years, Foulques of Neuilly the rival of Peter the Hermit 
and of St. Bernard, in eloquence and power of persuasion 
going from tournament to tournament, makes all the French 
chivalry take up the Cross. An army of barons embarks at 
Venice, and in passing overthrows the empire of Byzantium, 
as the first stage to Jerusalem. Notwithstanding the disap 
proval of Innocent III., founded on strict equity, we cannot 
dispute the grandeur of this astonishing conquest, nor even 
the Christian sentiment by which it was inspired. We always 
see the French knights laying down, as the basis of their ne 
gotiations, the reunion of the Greek Church with Rome, and 
making it the first result of their victory. This conquest was, 
moreover, but a just chastisement inflicted on the Greek Em 
perors for their perfidy, in having always betrayed the cause 
of tile Crusades, and on their degenerate and sanguinary peo 
ple, who were ever either the slaves or the assassins of their 
princes. Although the idea of the Crusade, bearing o~ dif 
ferent directions, must necessarily lose much of its force, yet 
khat force is revealed to us by all those generous princes, who 
did not think their life complete until they had seen the Holy 
Land ; such were Thibaut de Champagne, who celebrated 
that expedition in such noble verses ; the holy Duke Louis, 
husband of our Elizabeth, whom we shall see die on the wayj 
Leopold of Austria, and even the king of distant Norway, 



INTRODUCTION. 4) 

rho would go in company with St. Loais. The wives of 
these noble knights hesitated not to accompany them on 
these distant pilgrimages, and there were almost as many 
princesses as princes in the camps of the Crusaders. Even 
boys were carried away by the general enthusiasm ; and it ii 
an affecting sight to see that crusade of boys in 1212 frcrn 
! all parts of Europe whose result was most fatal, for they all 
^perished but still it was a striking proof of that love of 
sacrifice, of that exclusive devotion to creeds and convictions, 
which actuated the men of those times from the cradle to the 
grave. What those boys had attempted in their early age, 
worn-out old men failed not to undertake ; witness that Jean 
de Brienne, king of Jerusalem, who, after a whole life conse 
crated to the defence of faith and the Church, even against 
his own son-in-law, Frederick II., sets out when upwards of 
four-score, to undertake the defence of the new Latin empire 
of the East ; after almost miraculous success, he expires at 
the age of eighty-nine, worn out by conquest still more than 
by age, having first stripped off the imperial purple and hia 
glorious armour, to assume the habit of St. Francis, and to dia 
under that insignia of a last victory (1237.) 

Besides these individual manifestations of zeal, Europe 
once more welcomed the appearance of that permanent militia 
of the Cross, the three great military orders, the martial 
brotherhoods of the Temple, of St. John of Jerusalem, and 
St. Mary of the Germans. These last had for their g and 
master, during the first years of the thirteenth contury. 
Hermann de Saltza, famous for his noble and indefatigabu 
efforts to reconcile the Church and the Empire, and under 
whose government the first expedition of the Teutonic knights 
into Russia took place, whilst one of the principal seats of 
the Order, and subsequently its capital, was near the tomb 
of St. Elizabeth of Marbourg. 

Thus then, in the East, the taking of Constantinople, and 



the overthrow of the Greek "bmpire by a handful of Franks; 
Vn Spain, las Navas de Tolosa by St. Ferdinand ; in France, 
Bon vines and St. Louis ; in Germany, the glory and the fall 
of the Hohenstaufen line ; in England, the Magna Charta ; 
at the summit of the Christian world, the great Innocent IIL 
and his heroic successors ; this is sufficient, it seems to us, to 
assign to the time of St. Elizabeth a memorable place in the 
history of humanity. If we seek its fundamental ideas, it 
will be easy to find them, on one side, in the magnificent 
unity of that Church whom nothing escaped ; who proclaimed, 
in her most august mysteries as in her smallest details, the 
final supremacy of mind over matter ; who consecrated, with 
frise and paternal solicitude, the law of equality amongst men, 
ind who, by securing to the meanest serf the liberty of mar 
riage and the inviolable sanctity of the family by assigning 
lim a place in her temples by the side of his masters but, 
ibove all, by giving him free access to the highest spiritual 
Dignities, placed an infinite difference between his condition 
and that of the most favoured slave of antiquity. Then over 
against her rose the lay power the Empire royalty often 
profaned by the evil passions of those who exercised them, 
out restrained by a thousand bonds within the ways of charity, 
meeting at every turn the barriers erected by faith and tht 
Church ; not having yet learned to delight in those general 
legislatures which too often crush down the genius of nations 
to the level of a barren uniformity; charged, on the contrary, 
to watch over the maintenance of all the individual rierhte 
and holy customs of other days, as over the regular develop 
ment of local wants and particular inclinations ; finally, pre- 
fidiug over that grand feudal system which was wholly based 
on the sentiment of duty as involving right, and which gave 
to obedience all the dignity of virtue and all the devotion of 
affection. The horrors perpetrated by John Lackland, during 
his long contest with the Chm miseraole decrepitude 

df the Byzantine Empire, clear what the lay 



IVTRODUCTIOff. 48 

would have been if left to itself, whilst its alliance with the 
Church gave to the world crowued saints like St. Louis of 
France, and St. Ferdinand of Spain kings whose equali 
have never since appeared. 

So much for the political and social life of those times. 
The life of faith and of the soul the interior life in as far 
as we can separate it from the foregoing, presents a spectacle 
grander and more marvellous still, and is much more nearly 
approximated to the life of the saint whose virtues we have 
attempted to pourtray. By the side of those great eventi 
which change the face of empires, we shall see revolutions 
greater and far more lasting in the spiritual order ; by the 
side of those illustrious warriors those royal saints, we shall 
see the Church bring forth and send abroad for the salvation 
of souls, invincible conquerors and armies of saints drawn 
from every grade of Christian society. 

In fact, there was a great corruption of morals creeping in 
amongst Christians ; fostered in heresies of various kinds, it 
rose up with a threatening aspect on every side ; piety and 
fervour were relaxed , the great foundations of the preceding 
iges, Cluny, Citeaux, Preinontre, the Chartreux, were no 
longer sufficient to vivify the masses, whilst, in the schools, 
the very sources of Christian life were too often dried up by 
harsh, arid lopdc The disease of Christendom required some 
new and sovereign remedy ; its benumbed limbs required 
riolent shock ; strong arms and e tout hearts were require 
it the helm. This necessary and much-desired succour waa 
speedily sent by God, who has sworn never to desert Hia 
ipouse, and never will desert her. 

They were, indeed, prophetic visions wherein Innocent III 
and Honorius III. saw the basi ic of Latran, the mother and 
the cathedral of ?11 Chriptiva Churches,* about to fall, and 



* We read in the trw-ir-li -ii tfw sole retrains of the ancient front, on the raodera 
portal of St. John of Latraa: "Dogmati p&pali <Utue ac iimul Imperial!, quod elm 
mate* t eaput MtuecUrua." 4*. 



44 INTRODUCTION. 

supported either by an Italian friar or a poor Spanish priest 
Behold him 1 behold that priest descending from the Pyre 
nees into the south of France, overrun by heretics going 
barefoot through briers and thorns to preach to them. It is 
the great St. Dominic de Guzman,* whom his mother saw, 
before his birth, under the fora, of a dog carrying a blazing 
torch in his mouth prophetic emblem of his vigilance and 
burning zeal for the Church ; a radiant star was shining on 
his brow when he was presented for baptism ; he grew up in 
holiness and purity, having no other love than that divine 
Virgin whose mantle seemed to him to cover all the heavenly 
country; his hands exhale a perfume which inspire chastity in 
all who approach him ; he is mild, affable, and humble towards 
all ; he has the gift of tears in great abundance ; he sells 
even the books of his library to relieve the poor ; he would 
e>en sell himself to redeem a captive from the heretics. But, 
in order to save all the souls who were exposed to such im 
minent peril, he conceives the idea of a religious order, no 
longer cloistered and sedentary, but wandering all over the 
world seeking impiety to confound it ; an order to act as 
preachers of the faith. He goes to Rome, in order to have 
his saving project confirmed ; and, on the first night after his 
arrival, he has a dream, in which he sees Christ preparing to 
strike the guilty world ; but Mary interferes, and, in order to 
appease her son, presents to him Dominick himself and another 
person unknown to him Next day, going into a church, he 
sees there a man in tattered garments, whom he recognises as 
the companion who had been given him by the Mother of the 
Redeemer. He instantly throws himself into his arms: " Thou 
art my brother," said he, " and dost run the same course with 
me; let us work together, and no man can prevail against as. w 
from that moment, the two had but one heart and ont 



Bora U 11TO; began to preach in 1900- dtod tt 



INTRODUCTION. 41 

aoul. ITiat mendicant was St. Francis of Assisium, " the 
glorio-s beggar of Christ." 

He, too, had conceived the idea of re-conquering the world 
by humility and love, by becoming the minor the least of 
all men. Pe undertakes to restore her spouse to that divine 
poverty, \vidowed since the death of Christ. At the age of 
twenty-five, he breaks asunder all the ties of family, of 
honour, of propriety, and descends from his mountain of 
Assisium to offer to the world the most perfect example of 
the folly of tfie Cross which it had seen since the planting of 
that Cross on Calvary. But, far from repelling the world by 
that folly, he overcomes it. The more that sublime fool de 
grades himself voluntarily to the end that, by his humility 
and contempt of men, he may be worthy of becoming the 
vessel of love the more his greatness shines forth and pene 
trates afar off, the more eagerly all men press on in his foot 
steps ; some ambitious to strip themselves of all like him, 
others anxious, at least, to hear his inspired words. In yain 
does he go to seek martyrdom in Egypt ; the East sends kim 
back to the West, which he is to fructify, not with his blood, 
but with that river of love which escaped from his heart, and 
with those five wounds which had been impressed upon hi: 
pure body by Him who loved the world even unto death. 
Francis, too, embraced the whole world in his fervent love ; 
first, all mankind, whom he loved to excess : " If I did not 
grre," said he, as he stripped off his only garment to cover a 
poor man " If I did not give what I wear to him who was 
in more need of it than myself, I should be accused of robbery 
by the Great Almoner in heaven." Then all nature, animate 
and inanimate, every creature, is to him as a brother or 
a sister, o whom he preaches the Word of their common 
Father, whom he would fain deliver from the oppression of 
man, and whose pains he would, if possible, relieve. " Why, 
aid he to a butcher, "why do you hang and torture my 



46 INTRODUCTION. 

brethren, the lambs?" And to captive birds "Tedofet, 
my dear little sisters, simple, iimocent and pure, why did yoc 
allow yourselves to be caught thus ?" " He knew," says his 
biographer, a Saint, like himself, " that all creatures had the 
same origin as he ; and he proved, by his tenderness toward? 
them, as well as by their miraculous obedience towards him 
what man, victorious over sin and restored to his natural con 
nection with God, can do for that nature which is only de 
graded on his account and looks to him for its restoration. 
Jesus and Mary open to him themselves all the treasuries of 
the Church in that mean chapel of the Portiuucule, which 
remains to us as a preciotjs relic of that poverty whose 
" desperate lover" he was, according to Bossuet ;* the Pupe 
confirms these celestial favours on beholding the red and 
white roses which Francis presents to him in the midst of 
winter. He then ascends the heights of Alverno to receive 
the triumphant stigmasf which were to complete his con 
formity with the Saviour, and to make him, in the eyes of 
Christian nations, the true Cross-bearer the standard-bearer 
of Christ, whilst the Holy See, three centuries after, styled 
him the Angel of the Bast marked with the sign of the living 
God. 

At sight of these two men, the world understood that it 
was saved that new blood was to be infused into its veins. 
Innumerable disciples hastened to range themselves under 
their all-conquering banners. A long cry of enthusiasm and 
of sympathy arose, and was prolonged for ages, resounding 
everywhere, from the constitutions of the sovereign Pontiffs 
to the songs of the Poets. " When the reigning Emperor," 



* Happy, a thousand times happy, Is that humble Francis, ttw most ardent, th 
aaost passionate, and, if I may so apeak, the most desperate lover of poverty that 
perhaps ever was in the Church. BOSSUET. Panegyrique de St. 

t Corpore suo Christ* triumph alia stigmata prseferenti. BULL OF 



IWTBODt CTIOW. 

ays Dante, " would save his array from a dangerous 
ke sent these two champions to his wife s assistance : theii 
words, their influence, brought the people beck to reason.*- 
" These two orders, eays Sixtus IV., in 1479, aftei two cen 
turies and a half of experience, " like the two first rivers of 
the terrestrial Paradise, have watered the soil of tht universal 
Church by their doctrine, their virtues, and their merits, and 
render it every day more fruitful ; they are, as it were, two 
seraphim, who, raised on the whg* of sublime contemplation 
and angelic love above all earthly things, by the assiduou* 
singing of the divine praises, by the manifestation of th( 
immense favours conferred on man by ih* Supreme Artificer 
do unceasingly gather into the granaries of the Hoi) Church 
abundant sheaves from the pure harvest of souls redeemed by 
the precious blood of Jesus Christ. They are the two trum 
pets whereof the Lord makes use to invite the nations to the 
banquet of His holy Gospel." 

Scarcely were these orders in existence, when their power 
and their propagation became one of the most important his 
torical facts of the period. The Church suddenly finds herself 
mistress of two numerous armies, moveable and always avail 
able, ready at any moment to invade the world. In 1277, 
half a century after the death of St. Dorninick, his order had 
already four hundred and seventeen convents in Europe. St. 
Francis, in his own life-time, assembles five thousand of his 
monks at Assisium ; and, thirty-five years after, in numbering 
the forces of the Seraphic Order at Narbotme, it is found 
khat, in thirty-three provinces, it already reckons eight hun 
dred monasteries, and at least twentj thousand religious. A 
century later, its numbers were computed at one hundred and 
fifty thousand The conversion of pa^an nations is renewed : 
Franciscans, ^ent by Innocent IV and St. Louis, penetrate 
to Morocco, to Damascus, and even amongst the Mongols ; 
but their chief care is to overcome the passions of paganiim 



48 IK1RODUCTIOH. 

in the heart of Christian nations. They spread abroad OTCT 
Italy, iorn asunder by internal dissensions, seeking every 
where to reconcile opposite parties, to uproot errors, acting 
as supreme arbiters, according to the law of charity. They 
were seen, in 1233, trarersing the whole Italian peninsula, 
wfth crosses, incense, and olive-branches, singing and preach 
ing peace, reproaching cities, princes, and even the chiefs of 
the Church, with their faults and their enmities. The nations 
submit, at least for a time, to that sublime mediation ; the 
nobles and the people of Plaisance are reconciled at the 
bidding of a Franciscan ; Pisa and Yisconti, at that of a 
Dominican ; and on the plain of Yerona two hundred thou 
sand souls are seen crowding around the blessed John of 
Yicenza, a preaching friar sent by the Pope to quiet the 
disturbance in Tuscany, in Romagna, and in the Trevisan 
March. On this solemn occasion he takes for his text the 
words, " My peace I leave you ; my peace I give unto you ; w 
and, before he ends, an outburst of tears and sobs shows that 
every heart is touched, and the chiefs of the rival houses of 
Este and Romano, embracing each other, give the signal for 
a general reconciliation. It is true that these happy results 
did not last long ; but the evil was, at least, vigorously 
opposed the sap of Christianity was revived in the souls of 
men a gigantic struggle was everywhere and always carried 
on in the name of equity against the dead letter of the taw 
in the name of charity against the perverse inclinations of 
man in the name of grace and faith against the dryness and 
the paucity of scientific reasoning. Nothing escaped thia 
oew influence ; it moved the scattered inhabitants of the 
rural districts ; it shared the sway of the universities ; it 
etren affected the king on his throne. Joinville tells us how, 
at the first place where he landed on his return from the 
Crusade, St. Lou 1 * was welcomed by a Franciscan, who told 
him that " ae v *f *w kingdom lout, save for want of justice, 



INTRODUCTION. 40 

and that he mast be careful to administer justice promptly and 
willingly to his people ; and that every one was mindful of 
the king." It is well known how he sought to steal away 
from his dearly beloved wife, his friends, and counsellors, to re 
nounce the crown which he so gloriously wore, and go himself 
to beg his bread like St. Francis. But he was obliged to con 
tent himself with becoming a penitent of the third order ; for in 
heir fill-conquering army they had a suitable place for every 
one. Together with these battalions of monks, numerous 
monasteries were opened for virgins who aspired to the 
honour of immolating themselves for Christ, and the vast 
affiliations known under the name of third orders offered a 
place for princes, warriors, married people, fathers of families, 
in a word, to all the faithful of both sexes who wished to 
associate themselves, at least indirectly, in the great work of 
regenerating Christendom. 

Tradition relates that the two glorious patriarchs of that 
regeneration had at one time an idea of uniting their efforts 
and their orders, apparently so much alike ; but the celestial 
inspiration on which they acted revealed to them that there 
^as room for two different powers for two kinds of war 
against the invasion of evil. They seem to have divided 
their sublime mission, and also the moral world, in order to 
bring back charity and knowledge to the bosom of the 
Church, and to reconcile those two great rivals which cannot 
exist one without the other. This reconciliation was effected 
by them as it had never been before. Whilst the love that 
consumed and absorbed the vsoul of St. Francis has ever 
gained for him in the Church the name of the Seraph of 
Assisium, it would not be rash, perhaps, with Dante, to 
attribute to St. Dominick the power and the light of the 
Cherubim. Their children showed themselves faithful to thii 
distinct tendency, which ended in the same eternal unity, 
and with some few notable exceptions, it may be said 
3 



tO IHTRODUCTIOK. 

dating from that period of the Church s history, the part 
which has especially fallen to the Seraphic Order was the 
distilling and diffusion of the treasures of love, the mysterious 
joys of sacrifice ; whilst that of the Preachers was, as their 
name implies, to propagate, defend, and establish the truth. 
Neither one nor the other failed in its mission ; and both in 
their adolescence, and in the course of the half century of 
which we speak, gave to the Church, perhaps, more Sainta 
and Doctors than she had ever possessed in so short an 
interval, from the first ages of her existence. Following 
closely in the footsteps of St. Dominick that holy champion 
of the faith that coadjutor of the Eternal Labourer comes 
all at once the Brother Jourdain, worthy of being his first 
successor, and general of his order ; then St. Peter of Verona, 
honoured with the title of the martyr as if by excellence, and 
who, assassinated by the heretics, wrote on the ground, with 
the blood from his wounds, the first words of the Creed 
whose truth he maintained at the expense of his life ; then 
St. Hyacinth, and Ceslas his brother, those young Poliso 
nobles, who, meeting St. Dominick in Rome, were induced to 
renounce all worldly greatness, in order to carry that new 
light to their own country, whence it was to spread with 
lightning rapidity through Lithuania, Muscovy, and Prussia ; 
then, St. Raymond de Peuafort, chosen by Gregory IX. to 
assist in framing the legislation of the Church, the author of 
the Decrees, and successor of St. Dominick ; finally, that 
Theobald Visconti, who was to preside over the affairs of the 
Church under the name of Gregory X., before he became 
eternally entitled to its prayers, as Beatified in Heave**. 
Abreast of these men whose sanctity the Church has conse 
crated, a host of others were distinguished for their talent* 
and learning. Albert the Gre>it, that colossus of learning, 
the propagator of Aristotle and the master of St. Thongs : 
Vincent de Beauvais, author of the great encyclopaedia of iht 



IITTEOUCCTIOK. 51 

middle age* , Cardinal Hngues de Saint- Cher, who made the 
first concordance of the Scriptures ; Cardinal Henri de Suzon, 
author of La Smnme Doree ; and above all, in sanctity as in 
knowledge, the great St. Thomas d Aquinas, the Angelic 
Doctor, the gigantic thinker, in whom there seems to be 
iummed up all the science of the ages of faith, and whose 
magnificent synthesis has never since been equalled ; who, 
with all his rapt abstraction, is still an admirable poet, and 
merits to be chosen as the intimate friend and counsellor of 
St. Louis in the most intricate affairs of his kingdom. "Thou 
hast written well of me," said Christ to him one day ; "what 
reward dost thou ask ?" " Yourself," replied the Saint. That 
word comprises his whole life and times. 

The army of St. Francis marched to battle under chiefs 
no less glorious than those of the Dominicans ; during his 
own lifetime, twelve of his first disciples went to gather th 
palms of martyrdom amoiurst the heathen. B. Bernard. 
R Egidius, and B. Guy of Cortona, all of that company ol 
Saints who were companions and disciples of the holy founder 
survived him, and preserved the inviolable deposit of that 
spirit of love and humility wherewith he had been transported 
Scarcely had the Seraph taken his place before the throne of 
God, when his pla^e in the veneration of the world is occupied 
by him whom all proclaim as his first-born- - St. Anthony of 
Padua, celebrate 1, like his spiritual father, for that control 
over iiaturt whhh won for him the name of Thaumaturgus ; 
he who wab named by Gregory IX. the Ark of the Two 
Covenant* ; ^vbo had the gift of tongues, like the Apostles ; 
who, after having edified France and Sicily, spends his last 
years in pr^ching peace and union to the Lombard ck x, 
obtains from the Paduans the privilege of the cession of funda 
for unhappy debtors, ventures also to upbraid the ferocious 
Eccelin w : th his tyranny, makes the ruthless oppressor trem- 
tole, as he himself confesses, and dies at thirty-six, in the tamt 



52 INTRODUCTION. 

year with St Elizabeth. Somewhat later, Roger Bacon* 
reinstates and sanctifies the study of nature, classifies all the 
sciences, and foresees, if he does not even effect, the greatest 
discoveries of modern times. Duns Scotus disputes with St 
Thomas the empire of the schools ; and that great genius finda 
a rival and a friend in St. Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor, 
who being asked by his illustrious rival, the Angelic Doctor, 
from what books he derived his amazing knowledge, pointed 
in silence to his crucifix, and who was found washing the 
dishes in his convent when the Cardinal s hat was brought him. 
But it is chiefly through women that the order of St. 
Francis sheds unequalled splendour on that age. That sex, 
emancipated by Christianity, and rising in the esteem of 
Christian nations, according as the devotion to the Blessed 
Virgin increased, could not fail to take an active part in the 
new developments of the power to which it owed its freedom. 
Thus, St. Dominick had introduced a fruitful reform into the 
rule of the spouses of Christ, and opened a new career to 
their virtues. But it was not until long after, that in Margaret 
of Hungary, Agnes of Monte-Pulciano, and Catherine of 
Sienna, this branch of the Dominican tree was to bring forth 
those prodigies of sanctity which have since been so numerous 
Francis, more fortunate in this ragard, finds at the outset a 
sister, an ally worthy of him. Whilst he, a merchant s son, 
commenced his work with some other humble citizens of 
Assisium, in that same city, Clara Sciffi, the daughter of a 
powerful Count, felt herself inspired with a similar zeal. She 
is only eighteen years of age, when, on a Palm-Sunday, 
whilst the palms borne by others are withered and faded, 
hers suddenly blooms anew It is for her a precept and a 
warning from on high. That very night, she flies from her 

* Born In 1214 To him is attributed the discovery of gunpowder, the telescope 
to. It is known that he presented to Clement IV. that plan of teforuing the Cftbwr 
Iw, waiob waa afterwards adopted by Gregory XIII. 



INTRODUCTION. 

fathers house, penetrates to the Porziuncula, kneels at the 
feet of St. Francis, receives from his hands the cord and the 
coarse woollen habit, and devotes herself like him to evangel 
iuu poverty. In vain do her parents persecute her ; she ii 
joined by her sister and many other virgins, who vie with 
her in their austerities and privations. In vain do the 
Sovereign Pontiffs entreat her to moderate her zeal, to accept 
some fixed rule, since her strict seclusion forbade her to go 
like the Friars Minors, to solicit charity from the faithful 
and reduced her to depend on chance assistance. She obsti 
nately resists, and Innocent IY. finally grants her the privi 
lege of perpetual poverty, the only one, he said, that none had 
ever asked of him. " But He," he added, " who feeds the 
>irds of the air, who clothes the earth with flowers and ver 
dure, can well feed and clothe you till the day when He shall 
give Himself for your eternal aliment when He will cnbrace 
you with His victorious arm in the fulness of His glory and 
beatitude." Three Popes and a multitude of other saintly and 
noble personages came to seek light and consolati jii from that 
humble virgin. In a few years she sees a whole army of pious 
women, with queens and princesses at their head, rising and 
encamping in Europe, under the rule of Francis of Assisiuin, 
living under her direction and called from her Poor Clares. 
But in the midst of this spiritual empire, her modesty is so 
great that she is never seen to raise her eyes but once, viz., 
when she asked the Pope s blessing. The Saracens come to 
besiege her monastery ; sick and bed-ridden she arises, takes 
the ostensory in her hand, walks forth to meet them, and 
they immediately take to flight. After fourteen years of a 
holy union with St. Francis, she loses him ; then, having long 
endured the most grievoui infirmity, she dies after having 
dictated a most sublime testament ; and the Sovereign Pon 
tiff, who had witnessed her death, proposes her at once to tlv 
veneration of the faithful, proclaiming her the resplendet 



54 INTRODUCTION. 

Iv t of the temple of God, the princess of poverty, and tke 
f ichess of humility. 

As St. Francis found a friend and sister in St Clare, so 
lid St. Anthony of Padua in the blessed Helena Ensimel 7 ; 
out, by a marvellous effect of divine grace, it is especially 
amongst the daughters of kings that the mendicant order 
finds its most eminent saints ; whether they enter upon the 
strict observance of the Poor Clares, or, restrained in the 
bonds of marriage, can only adopt the rule of the third order. 
The first in date and in renown is that Elizabeth of Hungary, 
whose life we have written. It was not in vain, as we shall 
see, that Pope Gregory IX. obliged St. Francis to send her 
his poor cloak ; like Eliseus of old receiving that of Elias, 
she was to find therein the fortitude to become his heiress. 
Inflamed by her example, her cousin-german, Agnes of 
Bohemia, refuses tfce hand of the Emperor of the Romans, 
and that of the king of England, and writes to St Clare, 
that she, too, has taken vows of absolute poverty. St. Clare 
replies in an admirable letter, which has been preserved, and 
at the same time sends to her royal neophyte a cord to encir 
cle her waist, an earthen bowl, and a crucifix. Like her, 
Isabella of France, sister of St. Louis, refuses to become the 
wife of the Emperor Conrad IT., to become a Poor Clare, and 
die a Saint like her brother. Marguerite, the widow of that 
holy king, the two daughters of St Ferdinand of Castile, and 
Helena, sister of the king of Portugal, follow that example 
But, as if Providence would bless the tender bond which 
united our Elizabeth to St. Francis and St. Clare, whom she 
had taken for models, it is chiefly her family which offers tc 
ihe Seraphic Order as it were a nursery of Saints. After her 
eousin Agnes, it is her sister-in-law, the blessed Salome, qneec 
of Gallicia ; then her niece, St. Cunegunda, Duchess of 
Poland ; and whilst another of her nieces, the blessed Mar 
garet of Hungary, prefcn vu UIUCA- f St. Domiuick in whicfc 



INTRODUCTION. 55 

ahe dies at the age of twenty-eight, the grand-daughter of her 
sister, named after her Elizabeth, having become Queen of 
Portugal, embraces, like her, the third order of St. Francis, 
and like her merits the eternal veneration of the faithful. 

In view of these Franciscans of royal birth, we must not 
lose sight of those whom the grace of God drew forth from 
the lowest ranks of the people. Such was St. Margaret of 
Cortona, who, from a prostitute, became the model of peni 
tents ; and especially, St. Rose of Viterbo, the illustriom 
and poetic heroine of the faith, who, though scarcely ten 
years old, when the fugitive Pope had not in Italy a spot 
where he might remain, went down to the public square of 
her native city, to preach the rights of the Holy See against 
Che imperial power which she succeeded in shaking, merited 
to be exiled at fifteen, by order of Frederick II., and returned 
u triumph with the Church, to die at seventeen, the admira 
tion of all Italy, where her name is still popular. 

Those two <>;reat orders, which peopled Heaven by stirring 
t p the earth, met, notwithstanding the diversity of their 
characters and modes of action, in one common object the 
love and veneration of Mary. It was impossible that the 
influence of this sublime belief in the Virgin-Mother, which 
had been steadily and rapidly increasing, since the proclama 
tion of her divine maternity at the Council of Ephesus, should 
not be comprised in the immense spiritual movement of the 
thirteenth century ; hence, it may be said that if, in the pre 
ceding century, St. Bernard had given the same impulse to 
the devotion of the people for the Blessed Virgin, that he 
had impressed on every noble instinct of Christianity, it wai 
the two great mendicant orders who raised that devotion to 
a position at once firm and exalted. St. Domiuick, by the 
establishment of the Rosary, and the Franciscans, bj preach 
ing the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, rean ct, as it 
were, two majestic columns, the one of practice, the other of 



56 INTRODUCTION. 

doctrine, from the summit of which the gracious Queen of 
Angels presided over Catholic piety and Catholic science. 
St. Bonaventure, the great and learned theologian, becomes 
a poet to sing her praise, and twice paraphrases the entire 
Psalter in her honour. * All the works and all the institu 
tions of that period, and especially all the inspirations of art 
as they have been preserved to us in her great cathedrals 
and in the lays of her poets, manifest an immense develop 
ment, in the heart of Christian people, of tenderness and 
veneration for Mary.f 

In the very bosom of the Church, and even outside the 
two families of St. Dominick and St. Francis, the devotion to 
the Blessed Virgin brought forth effects as precious for the 
salvation of souls, as venerable for their duration. Three 
new orders were consecrated to her in their very origin, and 
placed under shelter of her sacred name. That of Mount 
Carmel, J emanating from the Holy Land, as the best produc 
tion of that soil so fruitful in prodigies, gave,by the introduc 
tion of the Scapular, a sort of new standard to the followers 
of Mary. Seven merchants of Florence founded at the same 
time that order whose very name denotes the pride they 
experienced, in that age of chivalric devotion, in bending 
beneath the sweet yoke of the Queen of Heaven ; the order of 



* Besides his Speculum B. V.M., which is, perhaps, the most popular work of the 
middle ages, this Saint has written the Psalterium Mqjus B. V. M., which is com 
posed of one hundred and fifty psalms, analagous to those of David.sand applied to 
the Blessed Virgin ; then the Psalterium Minus, which consists of one hundred 
and fifty four-line stanzas ; finally the Laus B. V. M., and a paraphrase on the 
Salva, also in verse. 

t It was in 1220 that the Margrave Henry of Moravia, and his wife Agnes, founded 
the first chapel at Mariazell, in Syria, even in our days a famous and popular pilgrim 
age hi Germany. It was only in 1240 that the Ave Maria came into general use. 

t He received his first rule from the patriarch Albert, in 1209, was confirmed hi 
1226, became a mendicant in 1247. The scapular was given by the Blessed Virgin 
to St. Simon Stock, who died about 1250. 

In 1239. The order was confirmed at the Council of Lyon, in 1274. 



INTRODUCTION 57 

fche Servites or Serfs of Mary, which immediately gave to the 
Church St. Philip Benizzi, author of the touching devotion of 
the Seven Dolors of the Virgin. At length that cherished 
name was attached to an institution worthy of her maternal 
heart the Order of Our Lady of Mercy,* intended for the 
ransom of Christian captives from the infidels. She had her 
self appeared, it was said, on the same night, tc King James of 
Aragon, St. Raymond de Penafort, and St. Peter Nolasquez, 
beseeching them to interest themselves for her sake in the fate 
of their captive brethren. All three obeyed ; and Peter 
became the chief of the new order, which made a rapid prog 
ress, and soon after produced that St. Raymond Nonnat, who 
sold himself to redeem a slave, and who was gagged by the 
infidels, so invincible did they find his words. 

This same object of mercy, with a desire for the propagiv- 
tion of the faith, had, in the preceding century, under tic 
auspices of Innocent III., given rue to the order of the Trim 
tarians, by the united efforts of two Saints, a part of whose 
life belongs to the thirteenth century, St. John of Matha, and 
St. Felix of Valois, who was also the special servant of Mary. 
For six hundred years, and even down to our own times, 
these two orders have continued their peaceful but periloui 
crusade. 

Here we have already no less than five new orders, all 
instituted within the first thirty years of that century; nor ia 
this all ; the desire to unite all energies for good, which had 
its principle in that love of God and the neighbour which 
every thing then tended to develop, was not yet satisfied ; 
other religions, as they were thenceforward called, were daily 
formed in the bosom of the mother-religion. Les Humilie* 
received their definitive rule from Innocent III., in 1201; the 
Augustinians (in 1256) under Alexander IY., became the 



8 INTRODUC iOK. 

fourth branch of that great family of Mendicants, in which 
the Carmelites had already taken their place, by the side of 
khc Friars Minors and Preachers. The Celestines, founded by 
Peter de Mouron, who was afterwards Pope and canonized 
under that same name of Celestiue, was confirmed by Urban 
IV (in 1263). In a narrower and more local sphere, St 
Eugene of Strigouia established the Hermits of St. Paul, in 
Hungary (in 1215); and three pious professors from the Uni 
versity of Paris retired to a sequestered valley in the diocese 
of Langres, to found there, with thirty-seven of their pupils, 
the new order of the Val des Ecoliers (the Yale of Scholars) 
fin 1218.) Besides all these numerous and divers careers 
offered t r the zeal and devotion of those who wished to con 
secrate themselves to God ; besides the great military orders 
of the East and of Spain, then in the height of their splen 
dour, those Christians whom either duty or inclination re- 
tamed in common and profane life, could not submit to lose 
their share in that life of prayer and sacrifice which con 
stantly excited their envy and their admiration. They organ 
ised themselves, as much as possible, under an analogous 
form. This accounts for the appearance of the Fratri gaudenti 
or Knights of the Virgin (in 1233), who, without renouncing 
the world, applied themselves to restore peace and concord in 
Italy, in honour of the Virgin ; that of the Beguins, still so 
numerous in Flanders, and who have taken St. Elizabeth for 
their patroness ; finally, the immense multitude of the third 
orders of St. Doniinick and St. Francis, composed of married 
persons and those who lived in the world, yet wished to draw 
uear to God. It was the monastic life introduced into the 
tarnily and society. 

Then, as if this vast wealth of sanctity belonging to the 
new orders were not enough for that glorious time, illustrious 
Saints sprang forth simultaneously from the ancient orders, 
the Episcopacy, and all ranks of the faithful We have al< 



IFTRODUCTIO*. 

re*dy named St. Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, and St 
Hedwige, of Poland, who became a Cistercian By their side 
in the order of Citeaux, it is proper to plare St. Uuiilaame 
Archbishop of Bourses, another famous defender of ecclesias 
tical freedom, and a preacher of the Crusade ; St. Thibaut de 
Montmorency ( 1247 ) ; Etieime de Chatillou ( 1208 ) Bishop of 
Die, and Philippe Berruyer (1266), Archbishop of Bourses, 
both beatified; another St. Guillaume, abbot of the Paraclete 
in Denmark, whither he had brought the piety and learning 
of the canons of St. Genevieve of Paris, whence he had gone 
forth (died in 1209); in the order of St. Benedict, St. Sylves 
ter d Osimo and St. William of Monte-Virgine, authors of the 
reforms which have kept their names ; in the order of Pre- 
montre, the B. Hermann Joseph (1235), so famous for his 
ardent devotion to the Mother of God, and the striking 
graces which he received from her; finally, amongst the An 
gustinians, St. Nicholas of Tolentino (born in 1239), who, 
after a holy life of seventy years, heard every night the 
hymns of the celestial choirs, and was so transported by 
them that he could no longer restrain his impatience to die. 
Amongst the holy women, was the Blessed Mafalda, daughter 
of the King of Portugal; the B. Marie d Oigines (1213), 
and that sweet St. Humility (born in 1210), abbess of 
Valombreuse, whose very name describes her whole life. 
Amongst the Virgins, St. Verdiana, the austere recluse of 
Florence, who extended even to serpents her invincible cha- 
riiy (died in 1222).: St. Zita, who lived and died an humble 
servant in Lucca, and who was chosen as the patroness of that 
powerful republic ; then in Germany. St. Gertrude (born in 
1222), and her sister St. Mecthilda, who held in the thir 
teenth century the same place that St. Hildegarde did in the 
twelfth and St. Catherine of Sienna in the fourteenth, amongst 
loose virgins to whom the Lord has revealed the inner Ugbti 
of hii holv law. 



INTRODUCTION 

Lastly, we must not forget, amongst the wonders of Eliza 
beth s time, that work which every succeeding age has pro 
nounced unequalled, The Imitation of Christ, whose author 
has never been clearly ascertained, tit its presumed author, 
John Gersen, abbot of Verceil, lived at that time, and lived 
in the most perfect conformity with the spirit of that divine 
book. It is the most complete and sublime formula of arden , 
piety towards Christ, written at a period which had already 
brought forth the Rosary and the Scapular in honour of 
Mary, and which closed magnificently with the institution :f 
the feast of the Holy Sacrament, which was first proposed 
by a poor Cistercian nun (St. Juliana, of Liege), confirmed 
by the miracle of Bolsena,* and sung by St. Thomas of 
Aquinas, f 

We have no apprehensions of being censured for dwelling 
too long on t?iis enumeration of the Saints and religious insti 
tutions of a period which it is our wish fully to represent ; 
any man who has made a careful study of the middle ages, 
must know perfectly well that those are the true pivots on 
which society tl en turned ; that the creation of a new order 
was then univei sally considered as of greater importance than 
the formation of 9 new kingdom or the promulgation of a new 
code ; that Saints rere then the true heroes, and that they en 
grossed nearly all Mn^ popularity of the time. It is only when 
one has appreciated ^<*. part which prayer and miracles played 
in public opirion, and! studied and comprehended the career 
af a St. Francis and a 4 St Diwii ick, that he can account for 
the presence and the acMri v f an Innocent III. and a St 
Louis, 



* The festival was instituted in 1264, bj ^aa IV., In me vory -r>f this 

t He is known to have drawn up the Office of t*> M eb f *.h< Holy 

id la recognised as author f the prose Laudu 8i<* ana tlx U sorvp-ab 



INTRODUCTION 61 

But it was not only the political world that was controlled 
by Catholic faith and Catholic thought: in its majestic ariity, 
it embraced all the human mmd, and associated or employed 
it in all its developments. Hence its power and its glory ar 
profoundly impressed on all the productions of art and poetry 
of that period, whilst, far from restraining, it sanctified and 
consecrated the progress of science. Wherefore we find that 
this thirteenth century, so prolific for the faith, was not more 
barren for science. We have already mentioned Roger Bacon 
and Yincent de Beauvais ; their names are synonymous with 
the study of nature, purified and ennobled by religion, as also 
the introduction of the spirit of classification and generalisa 
tion in directing the intellectual wealth of men. We have 
named St. Thomas and his contemporaries in the Mendicant 
Orders ; his name recalls the most glorious era of theology 
the first of sciences. The Angelic Doctor and the Seraphic 
Doctor criticised at will the famous Peter Lombard, the Mas 
ter of Sentences, who had so long controlled the schools ; nor 
must we forget either Alian de Lille, the Universal Doctor, 
who was still living in the first years of th&t century, iior 
Guillaume Durand, who illustrated its close, and gave the 
most complete Liturgical code in his Rationale. Most of 
these great men embraced at once theology, philosophy and 
law, and their names belong equally to those three sciences. 
Raymond Lulle, entitled by his holy life to the distinction 
of Blessed, belongs more especially to philosophy. The trans 
lation of the works of Aristotle, undertaken through the 
influence of Frederick II., and which attained such rapid 
popularity, opened before the latter science new and untrod 
den fields, which were only opening on the world at the pe 
riod of which we write Legislation was never in a mow 
prosperous condition. On one side, the Popes, supreme or 
gans both of faith and right, developed the canon law ai 
became that magnificent bulwark of Christian civilisation, 



02 INTRODUCTION. 

sided as judges with exemplary uesiduity,* published immentt 
collections, and founded numerous schools On the other 
hand, were seen springing up most of the national codes of 
Europe, the great mirrors of Suabia and Saxony, the first 
laws published in German by Frederic 11. at the diet of 
Mayence, the code given by him to Sicily; hi France, the 
establishments of St. Louis, together with tne Common Law 
of Peter des Fontaines, and that of Beauvoisis by Philip de 
Beaumauoir ; finally, the French version of the Sessions if 
Jerusalem, wherein is formed the most complete summary of 
Christian and chivalric law All these precious monuments 
of the ancient Christian organisation of the world, have come 
down to us even in the vernacular tonsrues, and are still less 
distinguished by that mark, than by their generous and pious 
spirit, from that fatal Roman law, whose progress was soon 
to change all the principles of Catholic society Hand in 
hand with these intellectual sciences, medicine flourished in 
its capitals; Montpellier and Salerno, still influenced by, and 
tit alliance with, the Church : and Pope John XXI., before 
he ascended the pontifical throne, found leisure to Compose 
the Treasure <>J the Poor or A/unnal of the Art oj Healing 
The introduction of algebra and of Arabic figures, f the inven 
tion, or at least the general adoption of the Mariner s Com 
pass, also signalise that period as one of the most important 
in the history of man. 

But it is still more in art that the creative genius of that 
age is manifested : for it was the period which saw the devel 
opment of that sweet and majestic power of Christian art. 
whose splendour was only to pale under the Medici, at the 



* Innocent 111 aat In )mlsnnt thiw time* a wrek : tfregory IX., Innocent 
I"?, and Boniface VIII.. wen- famous* lawyers We have already spoken of St. Rj- 
wnd da Penafort and Cardinal H<-un Stizon. placed by Dante In his Pdraditte, 

t It took place In Italy, under Frederick II, by Leonard Tlbonacci, and Is 



IHTBODUCTIOH. 

lime of what is called the Revival, being nothing else *ban 
the revival of pagan idolatry in arts and letters.* It is thii 
thirteenth century that commences with Cimabue and the 
Cathedral of Cologne, that long series of splerdour which ndt 
but with Raphael and the dome of Milan. Architecture, the 
first of arts in duration, popularity, and religious sanction, 
was also to be the first subjected to the new influence dev<al 
oped among Christian nations, the first to illustrate then 
groat and holy thoughts. It seems that that immense move 
ment of souls represented by St. Dominick, St. Francis, and 
St. Louis, could have no other expression than those gigantic 
cathedrals, which appear as though they would bear to heaven, 
on the summit of their spires, the universal homage of the 
love and the victorious faith of Christians. The vast basilica 
of the preceding ages seemed to them too bare, too heavy, too 
jmpty, for the new emotions of their piety, for the renovated 
fervour of their faith That vivid flame of faith required the 
means of transforming itself into stone, and thus bequeathing 
itself to posterity. Pontiffs and artists sought some new com 
bination which might lead and adapt itself to all the nevi 
treasures of the Catholic spirit ; they found it in following 
those columns which arise, opposite each other in the Chris 
tian basilic, like prayers which, meeting before God, bend and 
embrace like sisters : in that embrace they found the ogee. 
By its appearance, which only became general in the thirteenth 
century, all is modified, not in the inner and mysterious mean 
ing of religious edifices, but in their exterior form. Instead 
of extending over the ground like vast roofs destined for the 
ihelter of the faithful, all begins then to dart upwards towards 



* Most people we Acquainted with tbe exclamation of Pope Alexander VI., OB 
arriving in Rune, after Mi death of Leo X., at sight of all tbe ancient sutne* whib 
bad been disinterred : Proh I idola barlxirorum f It *rai certainly dictated M 
much by a just sentiment W ChrMtas art a by th plena emotion of th bead of tb* 
Oatnolic Churek. 



$4 INTRODUCTION. 

the Most High. The horizontal line gradually disappears, La 
the prevalent idea of elevation, the heavenward tendency of 
the age. Dating from this moment, no more crypts, no more 
subterraneous churches, the genius of Christianity having 
nothing more to fear, will fully manifest itself before the 
world. " God wills no longer," says the Titurel, the greatest 
poem of the time, and furnishing the most perfect theory of 
Christian architecture " God wills no longer that his chosen 
people should assemble in a timid and disgraceful manner in 
holes and caverns." As they chose to shed their blood for 
God in the Crusades, that chosen people will now give their 
toil, their imagination, their poesy, to raise up suitable palaces 
for the same God. Innumerable beauties everywhere abound 
in that sprouting of the earth fructified by Catholicity, and 
which seems reproduced in every church by the marvellous 
foliage of the capitals, windows and small steeples. It would 
lead us much too far were we to enter upon the detail of the 
grandeur and poetry given to the world by that architectural 
transformation of the thirteenth century. We shall confine 
ourselves to the demonstration of the fact that the first and 
most complete production at least in Germany of the 
Gothic or ogival style of architecture was the church 
built over the tomb of the dear St. Elizabeth* with thb 
offerings of the numberless pilgrims who crowded thither. 
We must also give a passing glance at some of the immortal 
cathedrals which rose at the same time in every part of Chris 
tian Europe, and which, if not all finished then, had their 
plan drawn by the hand of men of genius, who disdained to 
leave us their name ; they loved God and their brethren too 
much to love glory. There was in Germany, besides Mar- 
bourg, Cologne, (1246) the model church, where the trugt 
of faithfal generations has been betrayed by their posterity, 

M. Moller, a famous German architect of our own times, has publish*-" * Mfc 
flmue exclusively on this church. (See eh. xxxi. of our history.) 



INTRODUOTI01T. 4 

but which, suspended in its glory, is, as it W3re, a chaMenge 
to modern impotence ; Cologne, which forms with Strasburg 
and Friburg, the magnificent Gothic trilogy of the Rhine. 
In France, Chartres, dedicated in 1260, after a century and 
a half of patient perseverance; Rheiins (1232,) the Cathedral 
of the monarchy; Auxerre (1215;) Amiens (1228;) Beauvais 
(1250,) La Sainte Chapelle and St. Denis; the front of Notre 
Dame (1223;) in Belgium, St. Gudule of Brussels (1226,) 
and the church of the Downs (Dunes,) built by four hundred 
monks in fifty years (1214-1262;) in England, Salisbury, the 
finest of all, (1220;) half of York Minster, (1227-1260;) the 
choir of that of Ely (1235;) the nave of Durham, (1212,) and 
the national abbey of Westminster, (1247:) in Spain, Burgos 
and Toledo, founded by St. Ferdinand, (1228;) and almost all 
these colossal works undertaken and accomplished by one 
single city or chapter, whilst the most powerful kingdoms of 
our time would be unable, with all their fiscality, to achieve 
even one such glorious and consoling victory of humanity and 
faith over incredulous pride: a victory which even then aston 
ished simple souls, and drew from a monk that cry of noble 
surprise " How is it that in hearts so humble there is so 
proud a genius ?" 

Christian sculpture could not but share in the progress 
of architecture, and it then commenced to bear its finest 
fruits. Those goodly rows of Saints and Angels which adorn 
the facades of the cathedrals, then came forth from stone. 
Then was introduced the use of those tombs whereon we see 
re;lining in the calm sleep of the just the husband and 
wife together, their hands sometimes joined in death as they 
had been in life where the mother still lay in the midst of 
her children ; these statues so grave, so pious, so touching, 
impressed with all the serenity of Christian death ; the head 
upported by little angels, who seem to have received the 
Uteat sigh ; the legs crossed, if the warrior had been to tbt 



66 INTRODUCTION. 

Crusades. The relics of Saints brought in such numbers from 
conquered Byzantium, or incessantly furnished by the beatifi 
cation of contemporary virtue, gave perpetual employment 
for tae Catholic sculptor and goldsmith. The gorgeously-deco 
rated shrine of St. Elizabeth is a monument of the fecundity 
of those arts, then inspired by fervent piety. The shrine of 
St. Gene vie ve won for its author, Ralph the goldsmith, the 
first letters of uobil ty given in France; and thus it was that, 
in Christian society, art prevailed, before riches, over the 
inequality of birth. 

With regard to painting, although it was only in its in 
fancy, it already gave tokens of its future glory. The large 
windows, which just then came into general use, opened a 
new field for its operations by shedding on all the ceremonies 
of religion a new and mysterious light. The surprising Mass- 
book miniatures of St. Louis and of the Mirocles of the 
Blessed Virgin, by Gauthier de Coinsy, which are seen in the 
royal Library, show what Christian inspiration could already 
produce. In Germany began already to dawn that school of 
the Lower Rhine, so pure, so mystical, which wus, in a pen- 
liar manner, to unite the charm and purity of expression wui 
the splendour of colouring. The popularity of this rising art 
was already so great, that the ideal of beauty was no longer 
sought in fallen nature, but in those deep and mysterious 
types the secret of which had been found by humble artists 
in their pious meditations.* 

Italy we have not yet named, because she merits a separate 
place in this rapid enumeration. In fact, that eternal inherit 
ance of beauty preceded and surpassed all the rest of the 
world in the culture of Christian art ; Pisa and Sienna, even 



* Wolfram d Eschenbach, one of the most celebrated poets of Germany at thai 
jwrlod (1226), in order M give an idea of the beauty of one ofhts horoea, says that 
the paii.ters of Cologne v of Maea xtch t could not have mad* him fairer. PaaaaraiU 
p. 408. 



INTRODUCTION. 07 

now so lovely in their sadness and desertion, served as the 
cradle of that art, and prepared the way for Florence, which 
was to become its first capital. Though adorned within the 
previous century by many admirable buildings, Pisa was 
--eparing the exquisite gem of Santa-Maria della Spina 
1230), and also the Campo-Santo,* the distinctive monu- 
lent of the faith, the glory and the genius of a Christian 
ty ; Sienna would build a new cathedral (1225) which 
vould have surpassed all others if it could have been com- 
leted. In these two cities, Nicholas Pisanf and his illustrious 
ainily founded that sculpture so lively and so pure which gave 
neart and soul to stone, and was only to end with the pulpit 
of Santa-Croce in Florence. Giunta of Pisa and Guido of 
Sienna commenced, at the same time, the grave and inspired 
school of pa ; iting which was so soon to wax great under 
Cimabue r .d Giotto, till it reached the heavens with the 
blessed monk of Ficsola. Florence hailed a work of Cimabue 
as a triumph, and imagined that an angel had come from 
heaven to paint that truly angelic head of Mary, in the 
Annunciation, which is still venerated there. J Orvieto be 
held a cathedral arise worthy of figuring among those of the 
North (1206-1214). Naples had, under Frederick II., her 
first painter and her first sculptor. Finally, Assisium 
erected, in her triple and pyramidal Church, over the tomb 
of St. Francis, the sanctuary of the arts and of fervent faith. 
More than one Franciscan was alreadv distinguished in paint- 
ng ; but the influence of St. Francis over iay-artists waa 
nmense. They seemed to have found the secret of all their 

* The plan was conceived In 1200, bj the Archbishop Ubftldo, bnt was not pi 

to execution till 1273. 

t Flourished from 1107 till 1280 ; his master-pieces are the pulpit of the baptistery 
If Pisa, that of the dome of Sienna, and the tomb of St Domlnick in Bologna. 

t In the Church of the Strvites ; it was painted, accoM Ing to the inscription, la 

m. 

| Toumasao d Stefan! and Nloclai Manned*. 



$ft 1NTRODUCTIOM. 

inspiration in his prodigious development of the element of 
love ; his life and that of St. Clare were henceforward chosen 
for subjects as well as the life of Christ and His Mother , 
and all the celebrated painters of that and the succeeding 
age hastened to offer a tribute to his memory by adorning 
with their paintings the basilic of Assisium. In that neigh 
bourhood was also to spring up the mystic school of the 
Ombria, which, in Perugino and Raphael, (before his fall,) 
attained the highest perfection of Christian art. One would 
have said that, in his sweet and marvellous justice, God would 
confer the crown of art, the fairest ornament of the world, 
on that place whence he had received the most fervent 
prayers and the noblest sacrifices.* 

If art were already so rich at the time of which we speak, 
and responded so well to the movement of Christian souls, 
what shall we not say of poetry, its sister ? Never, certainly, 
has she played a part so popular and universal as she then 
did. Europe seemed then one vast manufactory of poetry, 
sending out every day some finished work, some new cycle. 
It is that, setting aside the abundance of inspirations, the 
nations began to wield an instrument which was to lend an 
immense force to the development of their imagination. In 
fact, this first half of the thirteenth century, which we have 
ilready seen so productive, was also the period of the growth 
t.nd expansion of all the living tongues of Europe, when they 
began all at once to produce those monuments which have 
come down to us. Translations of the Bible, codes of laws, 
framed for the first time in modern idioms, prove their grow 
ing importance. Each nation found thus at its disposal a 



* All that we bring forward on painting and general art, and especially on th 
influence of 8t. Francis, Is established and eloqt ently developed In M Bio s bock., 
ntitled, Df la petntwre Chrt&ienne en Italie (Christian painting in Italy). That 
work lias alreauy effect* * sanitary revolution in the study and appreciation at m I 
totb In Fra&M and Italy 



IHTBODUOTIOH. W 

iphere of activity all fresh for its thought, wherein the 
national genius might redeem itself at will. Prose was formed 
for history, and there were soon seen chronicles made for the 
people, and often by themselves, taking their place beside 
those Latin chronicles, so long despised, and yet containing 
so much eloquence, so many beauties quite unknown to classic 
Latin.* Yet still poetry long maintained the supremacy 
arising from its right of primogeniture. It was then seen to 
assume, in almost every country of Europe, those forms which 
Pagan or modern civilization attribute to themselves. The 
Epic, the Ode, the Elegy, the Satire, nay, the Drama itself, 
were all as familiar to the poets of that age as to those of 
the time of Augustus and of Louis XIV. And when their 
works are read with the sympathy arising from a religious 
faith identical with theirs, with an impartial estimate of a 
society wherein soul prevails so far over matter, with a very 
natural indifference for the rules of modern versification, we 
ask ourselves what then has been invented by the writers of 
succeeding ages ? We seek to ascertain what thought and 
imagination have gained in exchange for the pure treasures 
they have lost. For, be it known, that every subject worthy 
of literary attention was sung by those unknown poets, and 
by th^m brought under the notice of their cotemporaries ; 
God and heaven, nature, love, glory, country, great men 
othmg- escaped them. There is not a recess of the soul 
vhich they did not disclose, not a vein of feeling which they 
did not explore, not a fibre of the human heart which they 
did not stir, not a chord of that immortal lyre from which 
they drew not forth delicious harmony. 

We could cite no better example than the life of St. Elizabeth by Theodoric oi 
Tburingla; the frequent quotations which we shall make from it in the course of oui 
UKTfttive will give the reader some idea of what it is. Amongst the principal Latin 
Ustorlea of that time we must -ite Saxo Grammaticus, for the Scandinavian king- 
>, Father Vincent KadluUk, for Poland, and Cardinal laoquM de Vltry. *t thf 



TO INTRODUCTION. 

To begin with France ; not only had its language, form 4 
by the bards of the preceding century, and perhaps by the 
sermons of St. Bernard, become a national treasure, but it 
gained under St. Louis that European ascendancy which it 
has never since lost. Whilst Dante s master, Brunetto Latlni, 
wrote his Tesoro, a species of encyclopaedia, in French, be* 
cause it was, according to him, the most common language of 
the West, St. Francis sung hymns in French along the streets.* 
French prose, which was to be the weapon of St. Bernard and 
of Bossuet, opened with Villehardouin and Joinville the series 
of those great models whom no nation has ever surpassed ; 
but in France, as in all other countries, poesy was then much 
more prolific and more highly relished. We shall say nothing 
of the Provenpal literature of the Troubadours, although it 
has withstood the test of modern criticism, and although it 
was still in all its splendour in the thirteenth century. We 
pass it over because we think it contains no Catholic element 
because it rarely, if ever, soars higher than the worship of 
material beauty, and represents, with some exceptions, the 
materialistic and immoral tendency of the southern heresies 
of those times. In the north of France, on the contrary, 
together with some fables and certain metrical works which 
approached too near the licentious character of the Trouba 
dours, the national and Catholic epic appeared in all its lustre. 
The two great cycles wherein is concentrated the highest 
poetry of the Catholic ages that of the Carlovingian epics, 
and that of the Round Table and St. Graal, initiated in the 
preceding cantury by Chrestien of Troyes, with those Romans 
(Romances) whose popularity was immense. The Roman de 
Ronfevaux, as we now possess it, those of Gerard de Never*, 
of Partenopex de Blois, of Bertha with the long foot, of Renard 



* It is even said that his name of Francis (Franfois), was given him, instead 
of hi father s name, because of his great command of the French language. 



IlTTRODUOTIOlf. 71 

ate Montauban, of the four sons of Ay\ , * oee transfigura 
tions of French traditions are all of tbut period; as also 
those of Renart and la Rose, which have longer maintained 
A certain repute. More than two hundred poets, whose works 
nave come down to us, flourished in that age :* one day, per 
haps Catholics will take it into their heads to go seek in their 
works some of the most charming productions of the Chris 
tian muse, instead of believing, on the word of the sycophant 
Boileau, that poetry only came into France with Malherbe. 
We must also name amongst these poets Thibault, King of 
Navarre, who sang the Crusade and the Blessed Virgin with 
such pure enthusiasm, who won the praises of Dante, and, 
when dying, left his heart to the poor Clares whom he had 
founded at Provins ; his friend, Auboin de Sezanne, Raoul de 
Coucy, whose name at least is still popular, killed at Mas- 
soul a, under the eyes of St. Louis ; the prior Gauthier de 
Coinsy, who raised so fair a monument to Mary in his Mira 
cles ; then that woman of unknown origin, but whose talent* 
and national success have won for her the honourable title of 
Mary of France ; finally Rutebeuf, who thought he could find 
no heroine more illustrious to celebrate than our Elizabeth. 
At the same time Stephen Langton, whom we have already 
mentioned as Primate of England and author of the Magna 
Charta, intermingled his sermons with verse, and wrote the 
first drama known by the moderns, ^he scene of which is in 
heaven, where Truth, Justice, Mercy, and Peace discuss the 
fate of Adam after his fall, and are reconciled by Jesus 
Chnst.f We here only glance over a period when poetry 



8ee their enumeration In the Literary History of franca, t xrl and xrlL; 
Roquefort, State of French Poetry ; P. Paris, le Homancero Francafa. 

t Deiarne, Archaoligia, t xiiL Jean Bodel of Arras is regarded M the mott 
distinguished dramatic poet of that period ; his fine drama entitled Ju de Saint 
Vlcolat, has been made known to u* bj M. Onesime Leroy, in his work on U 



HfTRODUCTIOir. 

was so popular amongst the French that St. Louis disdained 
not to admit to his royal table minstrels, or itinerant poets, 
and that those very men could free themselves from all toll 
by means of a song. 

In Germany, the thirteenth century is the most Irstrous 
period of this admirable mediaeval poetry. Such is the jnani 
mous opinion of the numerous literati who have succeeded foi 
a time in rendering it once more popular in that country 
For ourselves, we are deeply convinced that no poetry ia 
finer, none impressed with so much freshness of heart and 
thought with enthusiasm so ardent, with purity so sincere 
nowhere, in fine, did the new elements planted by Christianity 
in the human imagination obtain a more noble triumph. Would 
that we could depict in their true colours the exquisite emo 
tions we enjoyed when, in studying the age of Elizabeth under 
every aspect, we opened the volumes where this marvellous 
beauty Bleeps unnoticed ! With what surprise and admiration 
did we behold all that grace, refinement, melancholy, which 
would seem reserved for the world s maturity, united to the 
artless simplicity, the ardent and grave piety, of the primitive 
ages ! Whilst the epic of purely Germanic and Scandinavian 
origin develops itself there in the train of the Niebelungen,* 
that magnificent Iliad of the Germanic tribes, the double 
French and Breton cycle, of which we have spoken above, 
finds sublime interpreters there in poets who well knew how, 
while preserving the subject matter of foreign traditions, to 
stamp their works with incontestible nationality. Their names 
are still almost unknown in France, as were those of Schiller 
and Goethe thirty years ago ; but, perchance, they may not 
always remain so. The greatest of these, Wolfram d Bschen- 
oach, gave to his country an admirable version of the Parceval, 



Tbt* celebrated poem, M we vow posMsa It, dates from th flrst jeaw of tb 
feirtemth century 



IHTEODUOTIOK. Ti 

and toe only one that is now extant of the Titurel, that 
masterpiece of Catholic genius which we may not fear to 
place, in the enumeration of its glories, immediately after the 
Divine Comedy Contemporaneously with it, Godefroi of 
Strasburg published the Tristan, wherein are summed up the 
ideas of the chivalric ages on love, together with the fairest 
iegends of the Round Table ; and Hartmann de PAue the 
Iwain, at the same time as the exquisite legend of pauvre 
Henri, wherein that knightly poet takes for his heroine a 
poor peasant girl, and delights to centre in her all the 
noblest inspirations of devotion and sacrifice that the faith 
and the habits of his time could give the contempt of life 
and its fleeting goods, the love of heaven and heavenly things. 
How many other religious and national epics were then com 
posed which it would now be superfluous even to name !* 
Nor was the lyric genius less prolific than the epic on that 
rich German soil. The ignorant and pedantic criticism of 
the unbelieving ages has not been able to efface the national 
remembrance of that brilliant and numerous phalanx of love* 
singers (Minne-soenger}^ which came forth between 1180 and 
1250 from the ranks of German chivalry, having at its head, 
in rank, the Emperor Henry VI., but in genius, Walter de 
Vogelweide, whose writings are, as it were, the transcript of 
all the emotions of his time, and the most complete summary 
of that delightful poetry. None of his rivals and contempo 
raries united in a higher degree earthly affections, zealous and 



S :h we the WigaUds, by Wlrnt de Gravenberg, a vassal of Elizabeth s grand- 
(kti >r, nd who accompanied her husband to the Crusades; G-inUciume cTOranQA, 
which ws aeked of Wolfram d Eschenbach by Elizabeth s father-ia-law ; FloirwA 
Blwnchfflpu/r, by Conrad de Flecke ; the Chant d Roland, by the priest Conrad : 
BarUtam ft Joaephat, by Rodolph de Hobansms, &c. 

t The principal collection of their works is in the Royal Library in Parts, In *Jw 
B*nncrl]>t called d Afan&ifie. It contains the poems of ons hundred and thirty- 
tiatt poets. Professor Hagen, of Berlin, has just published an excellent tdlttoo t if 
with tetm most valuable add tious. 



74 INTRODUCTION. 

watchful patriotism, enthusiastic love for holy things ; for the 
Crusade, in which he had himself fought ; and, above all, for 
the Virgin-Mother, whose mercy and whose mortal dolours he 
sang with unequalled tenderness. We clearly see that, in 
him, it was not only human love, but also celestial love with 
all its treasures which won for him and his confreres their title 
of love-singers. Mary, everywhere the Queen of Christian 
poetry, was especially so in Germany; and we cannot help 
naming amongst those who have offered her the purest in 
cense of song, Conrad de Wurtzburg, who, in his Golden 
Forge, seems to have concentrated all the rays of tenderness 
and beauty wherewith she had been invested by the venera 
tion of the Christian world. And, as though to remind us 
that everything in that age was to be more or less connected 
with St. Elizabeth, we see the seven chiefs of those epic poets 
and love-singers assemble by solemn appointment at the court 
of Thuringia, under their special protector, the Landgrave 
Hermann, father-in-law of our Saint, at the very time of her 
birth ; the songs which were the produce of the meeting of 
this brilliant constellation, form, under the name of the War 
of Wartburg, one of the most splendid manifestations of the 
German genius, and one of the most abundant treasures of 
the legendary mysticism of the middle ages, as well as a 
poetic wreath for the cradle of Elizabeth. 

Crowned heads are everywhere seen amongst the poets of 
that age ; but in the Iberian peninsula it is kings who guide 
the first steps of poetry. Peter of Arragon is the most 
ancient Troubadour of Spain. Alphonsus the Learned, son 
of St. Ferdinand, who merited, long before Francis I., the 
title of father of letters a historian and a philosopher, was 
also a poet ; there are but few Spanish verses more ancient 
than his hymns to the Virgin, and his touching account of his 
father s miraculous cure, written in the Gallician language. 
Deals I., King of Portugal, is the first known poet of hii 



INTRODUCTIOF. 71 

kingdom. In Spain began, with the most lively energy, that 
admirable effusion of Christian splendour, which was there 
kept up much longer than in any other country, nor began to 
wane till after Caldercn. Whilst legendary poetry shed its 
mild radiance in the works of the Benedictine Gonzalo de 
Berceo, a poet who was truly inspired by Mary and the 
Saints of his nation, we see the Spanish epic making ita 
appearance in those famous Romances* which are the peculiar 
glory of Spain, and one which no nation could ever dispute 
with her ; wherein are chronicled all the struggles and all the 
beauties of her history; which have endowed the people with 
immortal remembrances, and have reflected all the proud 
prestige of Moorish pomp and elegance, without ever losing 
that severe Catholic character which consecrated in Spain, 
more than anywhere else, the dignity of man, the loyalty of 
the subject, and the faith of the Christian. 

In Italy, it was only at the close of the period under 
review that Dante appeared, (born 1265) but his advent 
was nobly ushered in. Poetry, less precocious than in France 
or Germany, was but beginning to bear fruit, but she did so 
with prodigious abundance. In every quarter of that noble 
and fertile land, schools of poets arose, as schools of artists 
were soon after to do. In Sicily, the Italian muse had her 
cradle ;f there she appeared, pure, animated, a lover of 
nature, delicate, nearly akin to the French genius, which 
was twice to make Sicily its appanage, but still and ever 
profoundly Catholic. % In Pisa and Sienna, it is more grave, 
more solemn, as we see by the fine monuments which those 

* Those of the Oid, regarded as the most ancient, could not have been composed 
Wore the thirteenth century, according to the best judges. 

t Any one who supposes that Italian poetry began with Dante, would do well U 
Be the collection entitled Poeti del primo secolo, that is to say, of the thirteenth 
century, vhich contains some masterpieces of the poetic art. 

$ Such at least, Is the opinion of Dante, D Vulg. Slog, 1, 18 ; and of 
Trionfo a Amore^ . 85. 



T6 INTRODUCTION 

cities have preserved. In Florence and the neighbouring 
cities it is tender, abundant, pious worthy in all respects of 
its birthplace.* They were indeed a legion of poets, whose 
chiefs were the Emperor Frederick II., the kings Bnzio ano 
Mainfroy, his sons, and his Chancellor, Peter de Vignes 
then Guittoue d Arezzo, a poet so profound, and sometime* 
o eloquent, and so touching, warmly praised by Petrarrh and 
imitated by him; finally, Guido Guinicelli, whom Dante un 
hesitatingly proclaimed as his master. But all these were 
preceded and surpassed by St. Francis of Assisium ;f his 
influence was to enliven art, his example to inflame poets. 
While reforming the world, God permitted him to use the 
first of that poetry which was to bring forth Dante and Pe 
trarch As it was his soul alone that inspired his verses, and 
that he followed no rule in their composition, he had them 
corrected by the Brother Pacific, who became his disciple, 
after having been poet-laureate to the Emperor Frederick II. ; 
and then both together went along the highways, singing to 
the people those new hymns, saying that they were God s min 
strels, and required no other reward than the repentance of 
sinners. We still have those joyous canticles wherein the 
poor mendicant celebrated the wonders of God s love, in the 
vernacular tongue, and so passionately that he himself appre 
hended lest he might be accused of folly. 

No, never did that love, which was, as we have seen, his 
whole life, send forth a cry so enthusiastic, so truly celestial, 
so wholly detached from the earth ; hence it is that succeed 
ing ages have not only failed to equal it, but even to under 



* We must especially mention the charming strains of Rotajo d Oltrarno (1240) 
fwy are tonnd in Crescimbeni and the Rime atitiche. 

t We must here refer to the fine work of M. Goerres, entitled St. Francois cTAi- 
Trowbndour, translated into the European Review of 1888. There are n 
Italian vftra* whose date can be fixed with certainty before those of St. Franeia 
Ft hare *li *< y spoken of the beautiful poem* of St. Bonaventure. 



INTRODUCTION. 77 

stand it. His famous canticle to his brother the sun is better 
known ; it was composed after an ecstacy wherein he had 
received the certainty of his salvation. Scarcely had it es 
caped from his neart when he goes out to sing it in the streets 
if Assist urn, where the Bishop and the magistrate were i 
>jer warfare. But at the accents of that divine lyre, hatred 
was extinguished in all hearts, enemies shed tears as they em- 
braced each other, and concord reappeared at the call of 
poetry and sanctity. 

Finally, the highest and fairest branch of poetry, the 
liturgy, produced in that age some of its most popular master 
pieces, and if St. Thomas of Aquinas gives it the Lauda Sion, 
and all the admirable office of the Blessed Sacrament, it is a 
disciple of St. Francis Thomas de Celano who leaves ua 
the Dies Irce, that cry of sublime terror ; and another, the 
Brother Jacopone, who disputes with Innocent III. the glory 
of having composed, in the Stabat Mater , the most beautiful 
tribute to the purest and most touching of sorrows. 

This brings us back to St. Francis, and it may be observed 
that this period, whose most prominent features we have en 
deavoured to sketch, may be wholly summed up in the two 
great figures of St. Francis of Assisium, and St. Louis of France. 

The one, a man of the people, and who did more for the 
people than any one had yet done, raising poverty to the su 
preme dignity, making it his choice and his protection, and 
giving it a new influence over the things of heaven and earth 
invested with that supernatural life of Christianity which has 
so often conferred spiritual sovereignty on the lowest of ita 
children ; regarded by his contemporaries as the closest imf 
tator of Christ ; enervated during his whole life with divine 
Jove; and by the all-powerful virtue of that love, a poet, an 
actor, a lawgiver, a conqueror. 

The other a layman, a knight, a pilgrim, a crusader, 
Hag crowned with the first Christian diadem, brave even U 



78 INTRODUCTION. 

rashness, as willing to risk his life as to bend his head before 
God ; a lover of danger, of humiliation, of penance ; the inde 
fatigable champion of justice, of the weak and the oppressed; 
the sublime personification of Christian chivalry in all iti 
purity, and of true royalty in all its august grandeur. Both 
greedy for martyrdom, and for sacrifice ; both continually 
intent on the salvation of their neighbour; both marked with 
the cross of Christ. Francis in the glorious wounds which he 
had in common with the crucified ; and Louis in that inmost 
heart where love lies. 

These two men, so similar in their nature and in their ten 
dency, so well fitted to appreciate each other, never met on 
earth. There is a pious and a touching tradition that St. 
Louis went on a pilgrimage to the tomb of his glorious con 
temporary, and that he there found a worthy successor of St, 
Francis in one of his chosen disciples, brother ^Egidius. The 
account of their meeting is too characteristic of the age 
whereof we treat, for us to omit giving it a place. St. Louis 
being come, then, from Assisium to the Convent of Perousa, 
where JBgidius dwelt, sent him word that a poor pilgrim 
wished to speak with him. But an interior vision instantly 
revealed to the friar that the pilgrim was no other than the 
holy king of France. He ran out to meet him, and as soon 
as they beheld each other, although it was for the first time, 
they both fell on their knees at the same moment, and ten 
derly embracing, they remained long thus without exchanging 
a single word. At length they separated, arose and went 
their way the king to his kingdom, the monk to his cell. 
But the other brothers of the convent, having discovered that 
it was the king, began to reproach ^Egidius. " How," said 
they, " coulist thou have been so rude, as not to speak a sin 
gle word to such a holy prince, he coming all the way from 
France on purpose to see thee ?" " Ah 1 my beloved breth 
ren," replied the holy man, " be not surprised that neither ht 
8* 



INTRODUCTION. 7f 

noi I could speak; for, whilst we embraced each other, the 
lighl of divine wisdom revealed his heart to me and mine to 
him; and thus, looking into each other s heart, we knew each 
other far bettor than if we had spoken, and with much greater 
consolation than if we had given vent to our feelings iu words, 
BO incapable is the human tongue of expressing the secret 
mysteries of God I" A touching and an admirable symbo* 
of that secret intelligence, of that victorious harmony which 
then united lofty and holy souls, as a sublime and eternal 
compact. 

It may also be said that those two great souls meet and 
are completely united iu that of one woman St. Elizabeth 
whose name has already occurred so often in this work. That 
burning love of poverty which inflamed the seraph of As- 
sisium, that luxury of suffering and humiliation, that supreme 
worship of obedience is suddenly enkindled in the heart of a 
young princess, who, from the heart of Germany, recognises 
him as her model and her father. That boundless sympathy 
for the Passion of a God made man, which sent St. Louis, 
barefoot, at twenty-four, to visit the holy Crown of thorns, 
which impelled him to go twice under the standard of the 
Cross to seek death and captivity in Africa ; that longing for 
a better life which made him struggle against his friends and 
family to abdicate the crown and hide his royalty under the 
monastic habit ; that respect for poverty which made him 
kiss the hand of every one to whom he gave alms ; his abun 
dant tears, his sweet familiarity with Joinville, and even hii 
conjugal tenderness : all that is found again in the life of St. 
Elizabeth, who was no less his sister by feeling and by sym 
pathy, than by their common engagement under the rule of 
St. Francis. 

It has been established, in our own days, that the thir 
teenth century was remarkable for the increasing influence of 
women in the social atfi political world ; that they guided 



INT* JDUCTIOH. 

the helm of government in several large states,* and that 
fresh homage was daily offered to them both in public and 
private life. This was the inevitable consequence of that de 
votion to the Blessed Virgin, the progress of which we have 
already noticed. "It must be accredited to all women," 
Bays a poet of that age. " that the mother of God was a 
woinan."f How, in fa*-, could kings and nations constantly 
take her for mediatrix Between her Son and them, place all 
their works under her sanction, choose her for the special 
object of their most ardent devotion, without giving a share 
of that veneration to the sex whose representative she was 
with God, as also its most perfect type ? Since woman was 
BO powerful in heaven, she must needs be so on earth. But, 
whilst other princesses learned to share with kings the right 
of supreme command, the daughter of the King of Hungary, 
the issue of a race of saints, and whose example was to 
produce so many others, showed that there was still, for 
women, a royalty of soul far above all earthly pomp ; and it 
was by exercising it, unwittingly and unknown, that she 
gained her place in history. 

Her life, short though it be, presents, perhaps, the only 
assemblage of the most varied phases, the most attractive, 
and yet the most austere features which can mark the life of 
a Christian, a princess and a Saint. Still, during the twenty 
years which elapse from the day when she was brought to her 
betrothed in a silver cradle, till that when she expired on the 
hospital pallet, which she chose for her death-bed, there are 
two very distinct parts, if not in her character, at least in her 
exterior life. The first is all chivalric, all poetic, calculated 
as much to enchain the imagination as to inspire piety. From 



* Blanche of Caatile ; Isabella de la Marcne, who controlled the entire policy of 
King John Lack-land, her husbanl ; Jane, Countess of Flanders, who claimed Uw 
right of assisting as a peer of France, at the consecration of &~ Louis 

t Fr<HMnlob, a poem of the thirteenth century . 



INTRODUCTION. 81 

the interior of Hungary, that land half uuknown, half east 
ern, the frontier of Christendom, which presented to the 
mediaeval ages a grand and mysterious aspect,* she arrives 
at the Court of Thuringia, the most brilliant and the most 
poetical in all Germany. During her childhood, her preco 
cious virtue i<* overlooked, her piety despised ; some were for 
sending her back disgracefully to her father ; but her be 
trothed remains ever faithful to her, consoles her for the per 
secution of the wicked, and as soon as he is master of his 
States, hastens to marry her. The holy love of a sister min 
gles in her heart with the ardent love of a wife for him who 
was first the companion of her childhood and then her hus 
band, and who vies with herself in piety and fervour ; a 
charming freedom, a sweet and artless confidence presides 
over their union. During all the time of their wedded life, 
they certainly offer the most touching and edifying example 
of a Christian marriage ; and we dare affirm that, amongst 
all the Saints, none has presented in the same degree as Eliz 
abeth, the type of the Christian wife. But, amidst all the 
happiness of this life, the joys of maternity, the homage 
and the splendour of a chivalrous court, her soul tends al 
ready towards the eternal source of love, by mortification, 
humility and the most fervent devotion; and the germs of that 
more perfect life, implanted within her, grow and expand in 
boundless charity, and indefatigable solicitude for the miseries 
f the poor. Meanwhile, the irresistible call of the Crusade v 
the supreme duty of freeing the Holy Sepulchre, draws away 
ber young husband after seven years of the most tender union, 
^e dares riot reveal to her his still secret project, but she dis 
xm, i rs it in a moment of tender familiarity. She knows not 
how to resign herself to this hard destiny ; she follows and 



* The famous Bertha the Good, wife of Pepin, and mother of Charlemagne. th 
principal heroine of the cycle of the Carlo vlngten epics, was also daughter of a Uaf 
* Hungary. 

4* 



INTRODUCTION. 

accompanies him far beyond the confines of their country; she 
cannot tear herself from his arms. In the anguish which 
rends her heart at this parting, and again when she hears of 
the untimely death of her beloved husband, we behold all the 
energy and tenderness of that young heart ; precious and 
invincible energy, worthy of being consecrated to the conquest 
of heaven ; profound and insatiable tenderness which God 
alone could reward and satisfy. 

Thus, this separation once consummated, her whole life i 
changed, and God alone engrosses the affection of her soul. 
Misfortune comes on fast and heavy ; she is brutally expelled 
from her royal dwelling ; she wanders through the streets 
with her infant children, a prey to cold and hunger, she who 
had fed and comforted so many ! no asylum can she find, she 
who had so often sheltered others ! But, even when her 
wrongs are repaired, she is no longer inclined to a worldly 
life. Left a widow at the age of twenty, she rejects the hand 
of the most powerful princes ; she is sick of the world ; the 
ties of mortal love once broken, she feels herself moved 
with divine love ; her heart, like the sacred censor, is 
closed to all earthly things, and is open only to heaven. She 
contracts with Christ a second and indissoluble union ; she 
seeks Him and serves Him in the person of the wretched ; 
after distributing all her treasures, all her possessions, when 
she has nothing more to give, she then gives herself; she 
becomes poor, the better to understand and to relieve the 
misery of the poor ; she consecrates her life to render them 
even the most repulsive services. In vain does her father, 
the King of Hungary, send embassadors to bring her back to 
him ; they find her at her wheel ; resolved on preferring the 
kingdom of heaven to the royal splendour of her father s court. 
In exchange for her austerities, her voluntary poverty, the 
yoke of obedience under which she daily bends, her Divine 
Spouse endows her with supernatura joy and supernatural 



IHTRODUCTIOIT. 88 

power. In the midst of calumnies, privations, and the moat 
cruel mortifications, she knows not a shade of sadness ; a look, 
a prayer of hers suffices to heal the diseases of her fellow 
creatures. In the bloom of youth, she is ripe for eternity ; 
and she dies in the act of singing a hymn of joy which the 
angels above are heard to repeat in welcome to her victorious 
soul. 

Thus, in the twenty-four years of her life, we see her in 
iuccession, a lonely and persecuted orphan, a sweet and 
modest betrothed bride, a wife unequalled for tenderness and 
trust, a loving and devoted mother, a sovereign more powerful 
by her benefits than by her rank ; then a widow cruelly 
oppressed, a penitent without sin, an austere nun, a Sister of 
Charity, a fervent and favoured spouse of the God who glorifies 
her by miracles before he calls her to Himself ; and, in all thf 
vicissitudes of life, ever faithful to her original character, to 
that perfect simplicity which is the sweetest fruit of faith and 
the most fragrant perfume of charity, and which transformed 
her entire life into that heavenly childishness to which Jesus 
has promised the kingdom of heaven. 

So many charms so much interest in the brief mortal 
existence of this young woman, are neither the creation of 
the poet s fancy, nor the fruit of piety exaggerated by dis 
tance ; they are, on the contrary, verified by all the authority 
of history. The profound impression which the destiny and 
the heroic virtues of Elizabeth made on her age, is manifested 
by the tender and scrupulous care wherewith men have gath 
ered and transmitted from generation to generation the most 
trifling actions of her life, the least words that she uttered, with 
a thousand incidents which throw light on the innermost receasei 
of that pure and artless soul. We are thus enabled, at the 
distance of six centuries, to give an account of that blessed 
life, with all the familiar and minute details which we little 
XDect to find save in memoirs recently written and with 



circumstances so poetic, we would almost say so romantic 
that we can scarcely help regarding them at first as the resulti 
of an excited imagination taking pleasure in embellishing with 
all its charms a heroine of romance. And yet the historical 
authenticity of most of these details cannot be suspected, 
being collected at the same time as her miracles, and verified 
by solemn investigations immediately after her death, and 
registered by grave historians in the national and contem 
poraneous annals which record the other events of the time. 
In the eyes of those pious annalists, who wrote, as the people 
of those days acted, under the exclusive empire of faith, so 
fair a victory for Christ so much charity and solicitude for 
the poor, with such shining manifestations of the power of 
God, wrought by a creature so fragile and so young, appeared 
as a sweet place of rest amid the storm of battles, wars, and 
political revolutions. 

And not only is this life so poetical and, at the same 
time, so edifying certified by history, but it has received an 
otherwise high sanction ; it has been invested with a splendour 
before which the mere products of imagination, worldly re 
nown, and the popularity given by historians and orators, 
must all wax dim. It has been adorned with the fairest 
crown that is known to man, that of the saint. It has been 
glorified by the homage of the Christian world It has re 
ceived that popularity of prayer, the only one that is eternal, 
universal the only one that is decreed at once by the learned 
and the r ch by the poor, the wretched, the ignorant by 
that immense mass of mankind who have neither time noi 
inclination to busy themselves with human glories. And for 
those who are influenced by imagination, what happiness tc 
feel that so much poetry, so many charming incidents, illus 
trative of all that is freshest and purest in the human heart, 
may be remembered, extolled not, indeed, in the pages of a 
romance, or on the boards of a theatre, bat under the vaulted 



INTRODUCTION. 81 

roofs of our churches, at the foot of the holy altars, in th 
effusion of the Christian soul before its God! 

It may be that, blinded by that involuntary partiality 
which we feel for that which has been the object of a study 
and an attachment of several years, we exaggerate the beauty 
and the importance of our subject. We doubt not that, eveL 
apait from all the imperfection of our work, many may find 
out that an age so remote has nothing in common with this 
of ours; that this biography so minute, that this description 
of customs so long exploded can present no profitable and 
positive result to the religious ideas of our time. The simple 
and pious souls, for whom alone we write, shall be our judge. 
The author of this book has made a graver objection to him 
self. Seduced, at first, by the poetical, legendary, and even 
romantic character which the life of St. Elizabeth presents to 
a cursory view, he found himself as it were, according as he 
advanced, engaged in the study of an admirable development 
of the ascetic strength engendered by faith with the revela 
tion of the most profound mysteries of Christian initiation. 
He then asked himself whether he had a right to undertake 
such a work; whether the sublime triumphs of religion were 
not to be reserved for writers who could do honour to religion, 
or who, at least, might be exclusively devoted to it. He 
could not but feel that he had no mission for such a work, 
wad it was with tremulous apprehension that he accomplished 
a task which seems so unsuited to his weakness, his age, and 
his lay character. 

Nevertheless, after long hesitation, he yielded to the im 
pulsive idea of giving some connection to studies so protracted 
ana so conscientious, together with the desire of presenting 
to the friends of religion and of historical truth the faithful 
and complete picture of the life of a saint of former days 
oi one ot those beings who summed up within themselves al/ 
the faith and all the pure affections of the Christian ages; tc 



4 *NTRODUCTI01T 

paint them, as much as possible, in the hues of their time, 
and to show them in all the splendour of that perfect beauty 
therewith they presented themselves to the minds of men in 
tile Buddie ages. 

We are well aware that, to reproduce such a life in all iti 
integrity, it is necessary to place ourselves face to face with a 
whole order of facts and of ideas long since struck with repro 
bation by the vague religiosity of latter times, and which a 
timorous though sincere piety has too often excluded from 
religious history. We allude to the supernatural phenomena 
so abundant in the lives of the Saints, consecrated by faith 
under the name of miracles, and eschewed by worldly wisrlom 
under the name of " legends," "popular superstitions," "fabu 
lous traditions." Many such are found in the life of St Eliza 
beth. These we have endeavoured to reproduce with the 
same scrupulous exactness which we have used in all the rest 
of the narrative. The very thought of omitting, or even of 
extenuating then), interpreting them with prudent modera 
tion, would have been revolting to us. It would have ap 
peared to us fa. SiVcrilege to gloss over or conceal what we 
believe to be true, to pander to the proud reason of our age; it 
would have been a culpable error, too, for these miracles are 
related by the same auihors, established by the same author 
ity, as are all the other events of our biography. Nor could 
we well have fixed any rule whereby to admit their veracity 
in some cases and reject it in others ; in short, it would have 
been nothing better than hypocrisy, for we candidly acknow 
ledge that we firmly believe all that has ever been recorded 
as most miraculous of the Saints of God in general, and of 
St. Elizabeth in particular. Nor does this imply any sort of 
victory over our own weak reason ; for nothing appeared to us 
more reasonable, more simple for a Christian, than to bend in 
gratitude before the Lord s mercy, when he sees it suspend or 
modify the natural laws which it alone has created, to secure 



INTRODUCTION. 87 

.d enhance the triumph of the still higher laws of the moral 
ind religions order. Is it not botli sweet and easy to con- 
eiv how souls like those of St. Elizabeth and her contempo- 
arfos, exalted by faith and humility far above the cold rea 
soning of this world, purified by every sacrifice and every 
rirtue, accustomed to live beforehand in heaven, presented to 
the goodness of God a theatre ever prepared ; how much, 
toe, the fervent and simple faith of the people called forth, 
and, if we may venture to say so, justified the frequent and 
familiar intervention of that Almighty power rejected anl 
denied by the insensate pride of our days I 

Hence it is with a mixture of lore and respect that we 
have Jong studied those innumerable traditions of faithful 
generations, wherein faith and Christian poesy, the highest 
lessons of religion and the most delightful creations of the 
imagination are blended in a union so intimate that it can by 
no means be dissolved. But even if we had not the happi 
ness of believing with entire simplicity in the wonders of 
divine power, which they relate, never could we venture to 
despise the innocent belief which has moved and delighted 
millions of our brethren for so many ages ; all that is puerile 
in them is elevated and sanctified to us, by having been the 
object of our fathers faith; of our fathers who were nearer 
Christ than we are. We have not the heart to despise what 
they believed with so much fervour, loved with so much con 
stancy. Far from that: we will freely confess that we have often 
found in them both help and consolation, and in this we are 
not alone; for if they are everywhere despised by people who 
call themselves learned and enlightened, there are still places 
where these sweet traditions have remained dear to the poof 
and the simple. We have found them cherished in Ireland, 
in tbe Tyrol, and especially in Italy, and in more than one 
of the French provinces ; we have gathered them from the 
words of the people, and the tears which flowed from theil 



88 INTRODUCTION. 

eyes ; they hare still an altar in the fairest of all temples 
the hearts of the people. We will even venture to say that 
something is wanting to the human glory of those Saints who 
have not been invested with this touching popularity who 
have not received, with the homage of the Church, that 
tribute of humble love and familiar confidence which is paid 
under the cottage-roof, by the evening hearth, from the mouth 
and heart of the unlettered poor. Elizabeth, endowed by 
heaven with such absolute simplicity, and who, in the midst 
of royal splendour, preferred to all other society that of the 
poor and the miserable ; Elizabeth, the friend, tl/e mother, 
:he servant of the poor, could not be forgotten by them ; and 
in that sweet remembrance do we find the secret of the charm 
ing incidents which we shall have to relate. 

But this is not the place to discuss that grave question of 
the credence due to the miracles in the lives of the Saints ; it 
suffices for us to have declared our own point of view ; even 
had it been different, it would not have prevented us from 
writing the life of St. Elizabeth, from showing all that Catho 
des believed of her, and giving an account of the glory and 
the influence which her miracles have obtained for her amongst 
the faithful. In all mediaeval study, the implicit faith of the 
people, the unanimity of public opinion, give, to the popular 
traditions inspired by religion, a force which the historian 
cannot but appreciate. So that even independent of their 
theological value, one cannot, without blindness, overlook the 
part which they have at all times played in poetry and in 
history. 

With regard to poetry, it would be difficult to deny thai 
they contain an inexhaustible mine ; a fact which will be 
every day recognised more and more, according as the human 
mind returns to the source of true beauty. Even were we 
forced to regard these legends but as the Christian myf/ir* 
logy, according to the contemptuous expression of the 



INTRODUCTION 

philosophers of our days, still we should find in them a source 
of poetry infinitely more pure, abundant, and original, than the 
worn-out mythology i.. Olympus. But how can we be sur 
prised that they have been so long refused all right to poetic 
nfluence? The idolatrous generations who had concentrated 
all their enthusiasm on the monuments and institutions of pa 
ganism, and the impious generations who have dignified with 
the name of poetry the filthy effusions of the last century, 
could neither of them give even a name to that exquisite fruit 
of Catholic faith ; they could offer it only one kind of homage, 
viz. that of scoffing and insult, this they have done. 

In a purely historical point of view, popular traditions, 
and especially those which belong to religion, if they have not 
a mathematical certainty if they are not what are called 
positive facts, they are, at least, quite as powerful, and have 
exercised a far greater power over the passions and morals of 
he people than farts the most incontestible for human reason. 
< >n this account they assuredly merit the respect and atten 
tion of every serious historian and profound critic. 

So it ought to be with every man who is interested in the 
supremacy of spiritualism in the progress of the human race ; 
who places the worship of moral beauty above the exclusive 
domination of material interests and inclinations. For it must 
not be forgotten that, at the basis of all beliefs, even the most 
puerile, and superstitions the most absurd that have prevailed 
at any time amongst Christian people, there was always a 
formal recognition of supernatural power, a generous declara 
tion in favour of the dignity of man fallen indeed but not 
irretrievably. Everywhere and always there was stamped wi 
thes* popular convictions the victory of mind over matter, of 
the invisible over the visible, of the innocent glory of man 
ove 1 * vis misfortune, of the primitive purity of nature over its 
corruption. The most triflintr Catholic legend has gained 
more hearts to those immortal truths than all the dissert* 



90 INTRODUCTION. 

tions of philosophers. It is always the sentiment of that glo 
rious sympathy between the Creator and the creature, be 
tween heaven and earth, which beams upon us through the 
mists of ages ; but whilst pagan antiquity stammered out thii 
idea, giving its gods all the vices of humanity, Christian ages 
here proclaimed it, elevating humanity and the world regene 
rated by faith, to the very height of heaven. 

In the ages of which we speak, such apologies as these 
would have been superfluous. No one in Christian society 
doubted the truth and the ineffable sweetness of these pious 
traditions. Men li ved in a sort of tender and intimate famili 
arity with those amongst their fathers whom God had mani 
festly called to himself, and whose sanctity the Church had 
proclaimed That Church, who had placed them on her 
altars, certainly could not blame her children if they thronged, 
with indefatigable tenderness, to lay the flowers of their mind 
and their imagination before those witnesses of eternal truth. 
They had already received the palm of victory ; those who 
were still doing battle delighted to congratulate them, and 
to learn from them how to conquer. Ineffable affections, salu 
tary connections, were thus formed between the Saints of the 
Church triumphant and the humble combatants of the Church 
militant. Each one chose from that glorious company a father 
a mother a friend under whose protection he walked with 
greater confidence and security towards the eternal light. 
From the king and the pontiff down to the poorest artisan, 
each had a special thought in heaven ; in the midst of war 
fare, b the dangers and sorrows of life, these holy friendships 
exercised their strengthening and consoling influence. St. 
Louis, dying beyond the seas for the Cross, fervently in7oked 
the humble shepherdess who was the protectress of his capital 
The brave Spaniards, overpowered by the Moors, beheld St> 
James, their patron, in the midst of their ranks, and, return 
5ng to the charge, speedily turned the scale of victory. .Tin 



INTRODUCTION *1 

knights and nobles had for their patrons St Michael and St 
George ; for their patronesses, St Catharine and St. Mar 
garet ; and if they happened to die as prisoners and martyr* 
for the faith, they invoked St. Agues, who had bent her young 
and virginal head beneath the axe. The labourer saw in tc 
Churches the image of St. Isidore with his plough, and of fet. 
Nothburga, the poor Tyrolese servant, with her sickle. The 
poor, in general, the lowly and the hard-working, met at 
every step that gigantic St. Christopher oending under the 
weight of the child Jesus, and found in him the model of that 
hard life of toil whose harvest is heaven. Germany was 
peculiarly fertile in such pious practices, as we now clearly 
perceive while studying its pure and artless spirit, so totally 
void of the sarcasm, the scoffing sneer which blights all 
poetry while studying its language, so rich and so expres 
sive. It would be an endless task to specify all the innu 
merable bonds which thus connected heaven and earth ; to 
penetrate into that vast region, where all the affections and 
all the duties of mortal life were mingled and intertwined with 
immortal protection ; where souls, even the most neglected 
and the most solitary, found a world of interest and consola 
tion exempt from all mundane disappointments. Men thus 
exercised themselves in loving in this world those whom they 
Tere to love in the other ; they calculated on finding beyond 
the grave the holy protectors of their infancy, the sweet 
friends of their childhood, the faithful guardians of their 
whole existence ; there was but one vast love which united 
the two lives of man, and which, commenced amid the storms 
of time, was prolonged throughout the glories of eternity. 

But all that faith, and all that tender affection, whicl 
bound to heaven the hearts of the men of those times, me 
and settled down on one supreme image. All these pious 
traditions, some local, others personal, were eclipsed and en 
grossed by those which the entire world told of Mary Queei 



IWTBODUCTIOM. 

of the earth as well as of heaven, whilst every brow and every 
heart bowed down before her, every mind was inspired by 
her glory ; whilst the earth was covered with sanctuaries and 
eachedrals in her honour, the imagination of those poetic 
generations never ceased to discover some new perfection, 
some new charm, in the midst of that supreme beauty. Each 
day brought forth some m *e marvellous legend, some new 
ornament which the gratitude of the world offered to her 
who had re-opened the gates of heaven, who had replenished 
the ranks of the Angels, who had indemnified man for the sin 
of Eve the humble " handmaid," crowned by God with the 
diadem which Michael wrested from Lucifer when casting him 
into the depths of hell. " Thou must indeed hear us," said 
one with exquisite simplicity, " for we have so much happiness 
in honouring thee." "Ah!" cries Walter Von de Vogelweide, 
" let us ever praise that sweet Virgin, to whom her Son can 
refuse nothing. This is our supreme consolation : in heaven 
she does whatever she wishes !" And full of unwavering 
confidence in the object of so much love, convinced of her 
maternal vigilance, Christendom referred to her all its troubles 
and all its dangers, and reposed in that confidence, according 
to the beautiful idea of a poet of Elizabeth s time 

In the spirit of those ages, wherein there was so great an 
abundance of faith and love, two rivers had inundated the 
world ; it had not only been redeemed by fche blood of Jesus, 
It had been also purified by the milk of Mary by that milk 
which had been the nourishment of God on earth, and whi il 
reminded Him of heaven ; it had incessant need of b >t)i ; 
and in the words of a pious monk who wrote tho ife of 
Elizabeth before us, " All are entitled to ent( r thf.- family of 
Christ, when they make a proper use of the blood of their 
Redeemer and their Father, and of th.3 milk of the sacred 
Virgin, their mother ; yes, of that adorable blood which en- 
ccurages the martyrs and soothes their torments ***** 



llfTRODUCTIOIT. 93 

and of that virginal milk which sweetens the bitterness of oor 
cup by appeasing the wrath of God." And again, we must 
say. the enthusiasm of this filial tenderness was not enough 
foi those souls so devout towards the Virgin Mother. They 
required a sentiment more tender, if possible, more familiar, 
more encouraging, the sweetest and the purest that man can 
conceive. After all, had not Mary been a mere mortal, a 
weak woman, acquainted with all the miseries of life ; who 
had endured calumny, and exile, and cold, and hunger ? Ah! 
it was more than a mother ; it was a sister that Christian 
people loved and cherished in her ! Hence she was con 
stantly implored to remember that fraternity so glorious for 
the exiled race ; hence, too, a great Saint, the most ardent 
of her votaries, hesitated not to invoke her thus : " Mary," 
said he, " we beseech thee, as Abraham besought Sara in the 
land of Egypt * * * * O Mary! our Sara ! say that 
thou art our sister, so that for thy sake God may look favour 
ably on us, and that, through thee, our souls may live in God! 
Say it, then, O our beloved Sara! say that thou art our sister, 
and because of our having such a sister, the Egyptians that 
is to say, the devils will be afraid of us ; because, of such 
a sister, the angels will stand in battle by our side ; and the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost will have mercy on us 
on account of our sister." 

It wa? thus that they loved Mary those Christians of 
former days. But when their love had embraced heaven and 
Its queen, and all its blessed inhabitants, it descended again 
to the earth to people and love it in its turn. The earth 
wnich had been assigned for their dwelling the earth, that 
beautiful creation of God became also the object of their 
fertile solicitude, of their ingenuous affection. Men who were 
then called learned, and perhaps justly, studied nature with 
the scrupulous care wherewith Christians ought to study thb 
works of God ; but they could not think of regarding it as 



4 INTRODUCTION. 

body without superior life ; they ever sought in it mysterioni 
relations with the duties and religious belief of man ransomed 
by his God ; they saw in the habits of animals, in the phe 
nomena of plants, in the singing of birds, in the virtues of 
precious stones, so many symbols of truth consecrated by 
faith.* Pedantic nomenclatures had not yet invaded and 
profaned the world which Christianity had regained for the 
true God. When, at night, the poor man raised his eyes to 
the blue dome above, he saw there, instead of the Milky Way 
of Juno, the road which conducted his brethren to the pil 
grimage of Compostella, or that by which the Blessed went 
to heaven. Flowers, especially, presented a world peopled 
with the most charming images, and a mute language which 
expressed the liveliest and most tender sentiments. The 
people joined the learned in giving to those sweet objects of 
their daily attention the names of those whom they loved the 
most, the names of Apostles, of favourite Saints, or of Saints 
whose innocence and purity seemed reflected in the spotless 
beauty of the flowers. Our Elizabeth, too, had her flower, 
humble and hidden, as she always wished to be. But Mary 
especially that flower of flowers that rose without a thorn 
that lily without a spot,f had an innumerable quantity of 
flowers, which her name rendered fairer and dearer to the 
people. Every minute detail of the garments which she wore 
on earth was represented by some flower more graceful than 
the others ; these were as relics scattered everywhere, and 
incessantly renewed. The great lights of our days hare 
thought it better to replace her sweet memory by that of 

* The stufry of nature, under this point of view, was very common In the tidr- 
toenth century, as we see by the Speculum natural* of Vincent de Beauvala, and 
vast number of other works. 

t Lilium sine macula, rosa sine tpinfo, fios florwn, phrases from the andent 
liturgy of the Church, a thousand times repeated by poets of all countries to th 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries. O Vaga mia roao, says, also, St. Alpbonta* < 
In hto OMMOftofcM in <mor di Maria tantiMtma. 



IHIEODUOTION. f5 

Venus.* Sympathy was accounted mutual ; the earth owed 
gratitude for that association in the religion of man. People 
went, on Christmas night, to announce to the forest-trees that 
Christ was come : Aperiatur terra et germinal Sahatorem. 
But the earth, in return, was to give roses and anemones in 
the place where man shed his blood, and alies where he shed 
tears. When a saintly woman died, all the flowers around 
were to wither at the moment, or bow down as her coffin 
passed. We can conceive that ardent fraternity which united 
St. Francis with all nature, animate and inanimate, and which 
drew from him exclamations so plaintive and so admirable. 
All Christians had then, more or less, the same sentiment ; 
for the earth, now so lonely, so barren for the soul, was then 
impregnated with immortal beauty. The birds, the plants, 
all that man met on his way, all that had life, had been 
marked by him with his faith and his life. This earth wag 
one vast kingdom of love, and also of science ; for all had its 
reason, and its reason In faith. Like those burning rays 
which shot from the wounds of Christ, and impressed the 
sacred stigma on the limbs of Francis of Assisium, even so 
did the beams from the heart of the Christian race, of simple 
and faithful man, stamp on every particle of nature the remem 
brance of heaven, the imprint of Christ, the seal of love. 

Yes, the world was, as it were, an immense volume wherein 
fifty generations inscribed during twelve centuries their faith, 
their emotions, their dreams, with infinite tenderness and pa 
tience. Not only had every mystery of faith, every triumph 
of the cross its page therein, but also every flower, every fruit, 
every animal figured there in its turn. As in the ancient mis 
als and great anthem-books of the old cathedrals, beside the 

For instance, the flower which in European tongue was called th Viryin t 
tfioe, has been named Oypripedium Calceolut. A thousand other instances oooU 
be given of the gross materialism which distinguishes theae heathenish 
But toil is called th progress of tden * 1 



(J IJTTRODUCTIOlf. 

brilliant paintings which portray with inspiration at once M 
warm and so profound the great scenes of the life of Christ 
and of the saints, the text of the laws of God and of His 
divine Word was seen surrounded by all the beauties of 
nature ; all animated beings were there brought together to 
sing the praises of the Lord, and angels came forth for that 
purpose from the cup of every flower. This was the Legend, 
the reading of the poor and the simple, the Gospe ? adapted 
for their use, Biblia pauperum ! Their innocent eyes discov 
ered therein a thousand beauties the sense of which is now 
for ever lost. Heaven and earth appeared therein peopled 
with the most exquisite skill. Well might they sing with sin 
cerity of heart, Pleni sunt cceli et terra gloria tua Heaven 
and earth are full of Thy glory 1 

Who can calculate how impoverished life is since then ? 
Who thinks now-a-days of the imagination of the poor, the 
heart of the ignorant ? 

Oh! the world was then wrapt up by faith, as it were, in 
a beneficent veil which concealed all earthly wounds, and be 
came transparent for the splendour of heaven. Now, it is 
otherwise ; the earth is all naked, heaven is all veiled 

To clothe the world in this consoling vesture, it required 
the complete and unreserved union of the two principles which 
were so wonderfully united in Elizabeth arid her age simpli 
city and faith. Now, as every one knows and says, they have 
disappeared from the mass of society ; the former, especially, 
has been completely extirpated, not only from public life, but 
also from poetry, from private and domestic life, from the 
few asylums where the other has remained. It was not with 
out consummate skill that the atheistic science and impious 
philosophy of modern times pronounced their divorce before 
condemning them to die. When once their holy and sweet 
alliance had been broken up, those two celestial sisters could 
only meet in some few obscure souls, amongst some scattered 



INTRODUCTION 01 

and neglected people and then they walked separately to 
death. 

It is unnecessary to say, however, that this death was 
only apparent only exile. They kept in the bosom of the 
imperishable Church, the cradle whence they went forth to 
people and decorate the world. All men may find them 
there ; all men may likewise trace their course by the im 
mortal relics which they scattered as they went, and which 
none have yet succeeded in annihilating. Their number is so 
ft eat, their beauty so striking, that one might be tempted to 
believe that God had designedly permitted all the exterior 
charms of Catholicity to fall a moment into oblivion, so as 
that those who remained faithful to it through all the proba 
tions of modern times might have the ineffable happiness of 
finding them out and revealing them anew 

There, then, lies a whole world to regain for history and 
soetry. Even piety will find new treasures in it. Let none 
eproach us with stirring up ashes for ever extinguished, or 
searching amid irreparable ruins; that which would be true 
Df human institutions has no application to the subject before 
as at least, as Catholics believe for, if it be true that the 
Church ip undying, it follows that nothing that her hand has 
once touched, her breath inspired, can die for ever It suffices 
that she has deposited there a germ of her own principle, a 
ray of the fadeless and immutable beauty which she received 
with her life. If it lias once been so, it is in vain that the 
clouds darken around, that the snows of winter are heaped 
above it ; it is always time to dig out the root, to shake off 
some modern dust, to break >?u:;vler some factitious bonds, to 
replant it in some *-enial soil, and restore to the flower the 
bloom and the perfume of former days. 

We should not like to have it inferred, from the ideas 
which we have put forward, that we are blind admirers of 
the middle ages, that we ee in them every thing adiniraiak, 



IWTHODUCTIQK. 

enviable and irreproachable, and that, in our own age, ws 
consider the nations wholly incnrable. Far be it from ns to 
waste onr energies in vain regrets and our sight in useless 
tears over the grave of generations passed away. We know 
that the Son of God died on the cross to save humanity, not 
for five or six centuries, but for the whole period of the 
world s existence. We think not that the Word of God has 
failed or that his arm is shortened. The mission of pure man 
remains the same ; the Christian has still his salvation to 
work out, and his neighbour to serve. We regret not, then 
though we admire them any of the human institutions which 
have perished according to the lot of human things, but we 
do bitterly regret the soul, the divine breath whereby they 
were animated, and which has departed from those that have 
replaced them. We preach not, then, either the barren con 
templation of the past, or a contempt for and base desertion 
of the present. Once more we repeat, far be such a thought 
from our minds. But as the exile, banished from his native land 
for having remained faithful to the eternal laws, sends many 
a loving thought back to those who have loved him, and who 
await his return to his native land ; as the soldier fighting on 
distant shores is inflamed at the recital of the victories gained 
there by his fathers ; so it is permitted us, whom our faith 
renders as exiles amid modern society, to raise our hearts and 
eyes towards the blessed inhabitants of our heavenly home, 
and, humble soldiers as we are of the cause which has glorified 
them, to gather courage also from the remembrance of their 
itruggles and their victories. 

We know but too well what crimes and sufferings and 
complaints there were in the ages which we have studied ; at 
there always were, and always shall be, so long as the eartk 
Is peopled with fallen and sinful men. But we think that be 
tween the evils of those ages and those of our own times thert 
are two incalculable differences. In the first place, the energy 



IKTRODUCTIOIT. 96 

of evil wa everywhere met by an energy of good which seemed 
to increase by being provoked to the combat, and by whicn it 
was incessantly and manifestly overcome. This glorious re 
sistance had its origin in the force of convictions which were 
recognised in their influence over the entire life ; to say that 
tnis force has not diminished according as faith and religious 
practice have departed from souls, would assuredly be in con 
tradiction to the experience of history and the world s memory 
We are far from disputing the splendid progress that is made 
under certain relations, but we will say with an eloquent 
writer of the present time, whose own words will acquit him 
of any partiality for by-gone ages : " Morality is, undoubt 
edly, more enlightened in these days ; but is it stronger ? 
Where is the heart that does not thrill with delight, seeing 
the triumph of equality ? * * * * I only fear that in 
taking so just a view of his rights, man may have lost some 
what of the sense of his duties. It is truly painful to see 
that, in this progress of all things, moral force has not in 
creased." 

Those evils from which the world then suffered and of 
which it justly complained, were all physical, all material 
Person, property, bodily freedom, were exposed, outraged, 
trampled on more than they now are, in certain countries ; 
this we are free to admit. But then the soul, the conscience, 
the heart, were sound, pure, untainted, free from that fright 
ful inward disease by which they are now gnawed. Each one 
knew what he had to believe, what he might learn, what he 
was to think of all those problems of human life and human 
destiny, which are now so many sources of torment for the souls 
whom they have again succeeded in paganising. Misfortune, 
poverty, oppression, which are now no more extirpated than 
they formerly were, stood not up before the man of those 
times as a dread fatality of which he was the innocent victim. 
He suffered from them, but he understood them : he might 



100 INTRODUCTION. 

be overwhelmed by them, but he never desp& red ; for heavei 
still remained to him, and man could interrupt none of the 
means of communication between the prison of his body and 
the home of his soul. There was a sound and robust moral 
health which neutralised all the diseases of the social body, 
opposing to them an all-powerful antidote, a positive, a uni 
versal, a perpetual consolation faith. That faith which had 
penetrated the world, which claimed all men without excep 
tion, which had infused itself into all the pores of society like 
a beneficent sap, offering to all infirmities a simple and an 
effectual remedy, the same for all, within reach of all, under 
stood by all, accepted by all. 

Now, the evil is still there ; it is not only present, but 
known, studied, analysed with extreme care ; its dissection 
would be perfect, its autopsy exact ; but where are the reme 
dies to prevent that vast body from becoming a corpse ? Its 
new leeches have spent four hundred years in drying it up, in 
sucking out that divine and salutary sap which constituted its 
life. What substitute are they going to give ? 

It is now time to judge of the course which they have led 
humanity to pursue. Christian nations have allowed their 
mother to be dethroned ; those tender and powerful hands 
which had a sword ever ready to avenge their wrongs, a 
balm to heal all their wounds, they have seen loaded with 
chains ; the wreath of flowers has been to*:n from her brow, 
and soakod in the acid of reason till every leaf fell off, withered 
and lost Philosophy, despotism and anarchy led her captive 
before men loading her with insult and contumely ; then they 
shut her up in a dungeon which thej called her tomb, and at 
its door all three kept watch. 

And yet she has left in the world a void which nothing 
ever can fill; not only is it that all faithful hearts deplore her 
misfortunes; that every soul that is not yet contaminated 
sighi after a purer air than that of the world which her ab 



IHTRODUCTIOW. 10 

fence has made pestiferous ; that all those who lave not rel 
lost the sentiment of their dignity and of their immortal ori 
gin demand to be brought back to her fold ; but, aoove ail, 
those afflicted souls, who seek everywhere, but in vain, a 
remedy for their sorrows, an explanation of their dreary lot, 
who find nowhere aught save the empty and mournful place 
of ancient faith, these who will not and cannot be consoled, 
qui non sunt. 

Well ! we firmly believe that a day will come when hu 
manity will seek to emerge from the desert which has been 
made around her; she will ask for the songs that soothed her 
childhood, she will sigh to breathe again the perfumes of her 
youth, to moisten her parched lips at her mother s breast, and 
to taste once more before she dies that pure, fresh milk which 
nourished her infancy. And the gates of that mother s prison 
shall be broken by the shock of so many suffering souls ; and 
she will go forth fairer, stronger, more benign than ever. 
She will no longer wear the fresh and simple beauty of her 
early years, when she had just escaped from the first bloody 
persecutions ; hers will then be the grave and majestic loveli 
ness of the strong woman, who has read over the histories of 
martyrs and confessors, and added thereto her own page. In 
her eyes shall be seen the traces of tears, and on her brow the 
deep furrows made by suffering ; she will only appear more 
worthy the homage and adoration of those who have suffered 
like herself. 

She will resume her new and glorious course, the end 
whereof is only known to God ; but while awaiting the time 
when the world will again solicit her to preside over its af 
fairs, her faithful children know that they can every day 
receive from her infinite help and consolation. Hence it ia 
that they the children of light need not fear what a faith 
less world calls her decay ; amidst the darkness which that 
world gathers around them, they will neither be dazzled not 



102 INTRODUCTION. 

led astray by any of the false meteors of the gloomy night 
Calm and confident, they remain with their eyes fixed U 
steadfast hope on that eternal East which never ceases to 
shine for them, and where generations, seated in the shadow 
Dt death, shall also one day behold the only true and sacred 
Ban ready to overpower with his triumphant splendour the 
ingratitude of men. 

In conclusion, far be it from ns to attempt solving what is 
called " the problem of the age," or giving a key to all the 
conflicting intelligence of our days. Our ideas are not so am 
bitious. We are rather of opinion that all such presumptuous 
projects are struck with radical sterility. All the vast and 
most progressive systems which human wisdom has brought 
forth, as substitutes for religion, have never succeeded in 
interesting any but the learned, the ambitious, or, at most, 
the prosperous and happy. But the great majority of man 
kind can never come under these categories. The great ma 
jority of men are suffering, and suffering from moral as well 
as physical evils. Man s first bread is grief, and his first 
want is consolation. Now, which of these systems has ever 
consoled an afflicted heart or re-peopled a lonely one ? 
Which of their teachers has ever shown men how to wipe 
away a tear? Christianity alone has, from the beginning, 
promised to console man in the sorrows incidental to life, by 
purifying the inclinations of his heart; and she alone has kept 
her promise. Thus, let us bear in mind that, before we think 
of replacing her, we should commence by clearing the earth 
of pain and sorrow. 

Such are the thoughts which animated us while writing 
the life of Elizabeth of Hungary, who loved much and snf 
fered much, but whose affections were all purified by religion, 
and her sufferings all consoled. We offer to our brethren in 
the faith a book differing in its subject and in its form from 
ihe spirit of the age in which we live. But simplicity, humU- 



INTRODUCTION, 



10ft 



ity and charity, whose wonders we are about to relate, are, 
liko the God who inspires them, above all times and places. 
We only ask that this work may bear to some simple or sor 
rowful souls a reflection of the sweet emotions which we hay 
enjoyed while writing it 1 May it ascend to the Eternal 
Throne as an humble and timid spark from that old Catholic 
flaiae which is not yet extinct in all hearts ! 

MAY Iw, 1886, 



ST. ELIZABETH, OF HUNGART, 

DUCHESS OF THURINOIA 



CHAPTER I. 

HOW DUKE HERMANN REIGNED IN THURINGIA, AND KINO ANDR Dl 
HUNGARY, AND HOW THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH WAS BOB* Al 
PRESBOURG, AND WAS BROUGHT TO EISENACH. 

Quasi Stella matutlna in medio nebulae. Ecclea. L & 

" Elizabeth fat fille (Tung noble roy, et fut noble de llgnage; mats elle fat f-lot 
noble par foy et religion ; et sa tres noble lignee elle 1 ennoblit par example : ell* 
Peeclairchit par miracle; elle I embellit par grace desaintite." -Jean Levefre, Ann. 
dt ffaiwut, i. xlvt. 

AMONGST the princes who reigned in Germany at the com 
mencement of the thirteenth century, there was not one more 
powerful or more renowned than Hermann, Landgrave, or 
Duke of Thuringia, and Count Palatine of Saxony. The 
courage and talents which he had inherited with the posses 
sions of his illustrious father, Louis Le Ferre, one of the 
most remarkable princes of the middle ages the special pro 
tection of Pope Innocent III. his near relationship to the 
emperor Frederic Barbarossa, whose nephew he was his 
friendship with king Ottocar of Bohemia, and the houses of 
Saxony, Bavaria, and Austria the position of his vast 



101 LIFE Or ST. ELIZABETH. 

estates in the centre of Germany, extending from the Lab* 
to the Elbe all combined to confer on him considerable 
political importance. 

Though he was not one of the seven electors of the Holy 
RoDiau empire, it was nevertheless his influence which deter 
mined their choice, and his alliance was decisive of the suo- 
cess of aiiy pretender to the imperial crown. He was thus 
more than once the arbiter of the destiny of the empire. 
* When a king is found wanting in the proper exercise of his 
power, or is known to exceed its limits," says a contemporary 
poet, " the Lord of Thuringia takes away his crown, and 
gives it to whom he wills." It was principally to this influ 
ence that the celebrated emperor Frederic II. owed his election 
in the year 1211. 

It was not alone the power of Hermann that attracted to 
him the respect of all Germany ; he was still more distin 
guished for his boundless generosity, learning, and piety. He 
never retired to rest without having heard or read a lesson 
from the Holy Scriptures. In his youth he had studied at 
Paris, which was then the sanctuary of all learning, sacred 
and profane ; he had an ardent love of poetry ; during his 
reign he collected carefully the heroic poems of the ancient 
Germans, and employed a number of writers to transcribe 
the songs of the old masters. 

Living at the epoch in which Catholic and chivalrous 
poetry shed its purest ray on Germany, he comprehended 
all its immortal beauty, though he could not, like the emperor 
Henry VI. and a number of the princes and nobles of his 
time, take his place amongst the bards of love (Minnesinger) 
and hear, like them, his verses chaunted in the baron s hall 
and peasant s hut ; yet none of them could surpass him in 
admiration of the gai savoir, or in munificence and affection 
towards all poets ; they composed his society, and were the 
otyects of his most tender solicitude. His court was a home 



OF HUNGARY. 10 

to every child of song, and to the end of his ptormy life he 
preserved this predilecti >n of his early years. TV,s glory and 
his virtues have been we 1 ! commemorated, for his name if 
mentioned in the " Titurel," the " Parcifal," and in all the 
most popular monuments of national poetry. Thus Walther 
Von der Vogelweide, the greatest poet of that period, hai 
said of him, " Other princes are most clement, but none is so 
generous as he. He was so, and is still. No one suffers from 
his caprice. The flower of Thuringia blooms in the midst of 
the snow ; the summer and the winter of its glory are as mild 
and beautiful as was its spring." 

It happened in the year 1206, that Duke Hermann being 
at his Castle of Wartbourg, situated on a height above the 
town of Eisenach, assembled at his court six of the most 
renowned poets of Germany, viz : Hernrich Schrieber, Wal 
ther Von der Vogelweide, Wolfram D Eschenback, Reinhart 
de Zwetzen, all four knights of ancient lineage ; Bitterolf, 
comptroller of the household, and Heinrich D Ofterdingen, 
A simple burgess of Eisenach. A violent rivalry was soon 
declared between the five poets of noble birth, and the poor 
Beinrich, who was at least their equal in talent and popu 
larity. Tradition accuses them of having sought his life, and 
relates thai one day the five rushed upon him, and would 
have killed him, but that he escaped, and took refuge with the 
Duchess Sophia, who hid him under the folds of her mantle. 
When this occurred the duke was engaged in hunting. 

To put an end to their differences, they agreed to meet in 
ft public and final combat before the Duke and his court; they 
also required the presence of the executioner, rope in hand, 
and he was to hang, during the sitting of the assemb .y, him 
whose verses should be declared inferior to those of his rivals, 
thus showing that in their eyes glory and life were insepa 
rable. The Duke consented, and pre ided himself at this 
iolemn strife, the fame whereof was spread throughout Ge* 



x08 LIFE OF ST, ELIZABETH^ 

rcnuy, and at which assembled a crowd of knights am 
robles. 

The combatants sang by turns, and in the most varied 
forms, the eulogiums of their favourite princes the great 
mysteries of religion the mysterious marriage of the soul 
with the body at the resurrection the inexhaustible clemency 
of God the efficacy of repentance the empire of the cross 
and, above all, the glories of Mary, the beloved of God, 
more beautiful than mercy, more brilliant than the sun. 
These songs, preserved by the audience, are still extant, under 
the title of " The War of Wartbourg." 

This collection forms at the present day one of the most 
important monuments of Germanic literature, being at once 
a treasury of ancient and popular traditions, and serving to 
show what an influence poetry exercised on the society, learn 
ing, and faith of that age. 

It was impossible to decide the merits of the rival minstrels, 
and it was agreed that Heinrich D Ofterdingen should set out 
for Transylvania, there to seek the renowned master, Kling- 
sohr, so celebrated for his knowledge of the seven liberal 
arts, and for his proficiency in astronomy and necromancy ; 
tradition says that even spirits were forced to obey him, and, 
to secure his great services, the king of Hungary granted 
him a pension of 3,000 marks of silver. A delay of one year 
was granted to Heinrich to perform this journey, and at the 
appointed day he returned to Eisenach, accompanied by 
Klingsohr. 

Whilst all the chivalry of Germany were engaged in 
debating on the merits of this combat, the fame of which was 
to descend to posterity, the Lord, always careful of the glory 
of his elect, ordained that it should surround with a halo of 
poesy and popular glory the cradle of one of His most hr mble 
servants. 

Klingsohr being arrived at EiseEach, sojourned a? tht 



OF HUNOART. 109 

toostel of Henry Hellgref, at the left side of St. George s 
Gate, descended on the evening of his arrival into the garden 
of his host, wherein were several of the nobles of Hesse and 
Thuringia, come expressly to visit him ; there were there also 
officers of the Ducal court, and a number of the honest 
townsmen of Eisenach, who, according to an ancient and still 
existing custom in Germany, came there to drink the evening 
cop. These good people surrounded the sage, and asked him 
to tell them something new ; upon which he began to con 
template the stars attentively for a long time. At length be 
said to them, " I will tell you something both new and 
joyous. I see a beautiful star rising in Hungary, the rays of 
which extend to Marbourg, and from Marbourg over all the 
world. Know even that on this night there is born to my 
lord, the king of Hungary, a daughter, who shall be named 
Elizabeth. She shall be given in marriage to the son of your 
prince, she shall become a saint, and her sanctity shall rejoice 
and console all Christendom." 

The bystanders heard these words with great joy, and 
next morning the knights returned to Wartbourg, to tell the 
news to the Landgrave, whom they met as he was going to 
mass. Not wishing to distract his attention, they waited 
until after the celebration of the holy sacrifice, and then they 
related to him all that had occurred on the previous evening. 
It was a matter of surprise to the prince, and to the whole 
court, and, calling for his horse, the Landgrave went with a 
numerous escort to visit Klingsohr, and to entreat him to 
return with him to Wartbourg. There he was treated with 
the highest honour, and the "priests paid him the same 
reverence that they would to a bishop," says a contemporary 
writer. 

The Landgrave made him dine at the royal table, and aftel 
the repast they conversed for a long time. Hermann, whose 
paternal anxiety was already awakened, asked bbo 



10 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

fue&tions relative to the affairs of Hungary, whether the king 
ras engaged in many undertakings, whether he was at peace 
with the infidels, or whether the war had re-commenced. 
Klingsohr satisfied his curiosity by entering into all these 
details ; after which he engaged himself in the great cause 
which bad brought him to Eisenach. He presided at the new 
contest of the poets, and succeeded in allaying the hatred 
which the noble rivals entertained against Heinrich, and made 
them publicly recognise his merit. He then returned to 
Hungary as he came, and that was, according to popular 
tradition, in a single night. 

Now, Hungary was governed by king Andrew II., whose 
reign was agreeable to God and to the people. Illustrious 
by his wars against the pagan nations that surrounded his 
dominions, he was still more so by his earnest piety and 
generosity to the Church and to the poor. Some of the vast 
gold mines which still enrich Hungary were discovered during 
his reign, and his faithful people saw in that circumstance a 
reward granted by God on account cf his many virtues. The 
miners came one day to relate to the king that as they dug 
into the side of a mountain they heard a voice desiring them 
to proceed courageously, for that it contained a vast amount 
of gold, destined by the Almighty as a recompense for An 
drew s virtues. The king rejoiced at this mark of the Divine 
favour, and profited of it to build churches, found convents, 
and to increase his alms to the poor. 

Andrew s queen was Gertrude of Merania, or Andechs 
one of the most illustrious houses of the empire in the thii^ 
teenth century. She was a descendant u a direct line from 
Charlemagne, and possessed the most beautiful provinces in 
the south of Germany. Gertrude s father, Berchtold III., 
was Duke of Merania and Carinthia, margrave of Istria, and 
overeign of the Tyrol. Her brother, Berchtold IV., in 1198 
the imperial crown, which was tendered unanimously 



OF HUNGARY. Ill 

by ene electing princes. One of her sisters, afterward! 
canonized, was Hedwige, duchess of Silesia and Poland ; 
another, Agnes, so celebrated for her beauty and misfortunes, 
was wife to Philip Augustus, king of France. Gertrudo 
equalled her husband in piety ; historians speak of her 
courage, and her masculine soul. The most tender love 
united this noble couple. In the year 1207, on the day and 
at the hour announced by Klingsohr at Eisenach, Queen 
Gertrude being then at Presburg, gave birth to a daughter, 
who at the font received the name of Elizabeth. The cere 
monies of her baptism were conducted with great magnifi 
cence ; the royal babe was carried to the church under a 
canopy of the richest stuffs that could be procured at Buda, 
which was then one of the principal marts of Oriental luxury. 

From the cradle, this child gave proofs of the sublime 
destiny for which God reserved her. The names consecrated 
by religion were the first sounds that attracted her attention, 
and the first words uttered by her infant lips. She paid a 
wonderful attention to the rudiments of faith ; already an 
interior light aided her to comprehend these holy truths. 

At the age of three years, according to the historian, she 
expressed her compassion for the poor, and sought to alleviate 
their misery by gifts. The virtues of her future life were 
thus prefigured in her infancy ; her first act was an alms- 
deed, her first word a prayer. Immediately after her birth, 
the wars in which Hungary was engaged, ceased the interior 
dissensions of the kingdom were calmed down. This tran 
quillity soon penetrated from public into private life. Viola 
tions of the law of God, curses, and blasphemies, became lew 
frequent, and Andrew saw fulfilled all the desires that a 
Christian king could form Simple and pious souls remarked 
the coincidence of this sudden peace and prosperity with the 
birth of the child, whose piety was so precocious ; and when 
afterward* they saw so brilliantly realized the promised 



112 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

virtues of her early years, the Hungarians loved to say, that 
never did royal infant bring so many blessings to her country. 

Meanwhile, Duke Hermann left no means untried to find 
out if the predictions of Klingsohr had come to pass, and 
whether a princess was born in Hungary on the day he fore 
told And when he learned, not only her birth, but still 
more the marks of devotion she already evinced, and the 
happiness that she seemed to have brought from heaven to 
her country, he conceived the most ardent desire to see the 
prediction entirely accomplished, and his young son espoused 
to Elizabeth. 

The travellers that arrived, from time to time, from Hun 
gary, which was then scarcely more isolated than it is at 
present from the rest of Europe, often brought him some 
account of the daughter of king Andrew. One day parti 
cularly, a monk who came from Hungary related to the Duke 
that, having been blind from the age of four years, he was 
suddenly cured by the touch of the young princess. " All 
Hungary," said he, " rejoices in this child, for she has brought 
peace with her." 

This was sufficient to decide Hermann to send an embassy 
composed of lords and noble ladies, to the king of Hungary, 
to demand of him, in the name of the young Louis, the hand 
of Elizabeth, and, if possible, to bring her with them to 
Thuringia. He selected for this mission Count Reinhard de 
Mulhberg, Gauthier de Varila, his cup-bearer, and the Lady 
Bertha, widow of Egilolf de Beindeliban, who was. accord 
ing to the Chroniclers, famed for her wisdom and modesty, 
besides being beautiful, pious, and honourable in all things 
She had, as companions, two noble and beauteous maidens, 
and two esquires. The ambassadors had at least thirty 
horses in their train. Along their route, they were received 
by the princes and prelates through whose estates they passed, 
With the distinction due to their rank and that of their Lord 



OF HUNGARY. 113 

Happily arrived at Presburg, they were entertained with 
royal hospitality, and a great number of Masses were offered 
*p on the morning after their entrance to that city. 

Wl en they opened to king Andrew the object of their 
mission, he assembled his council to deliberate on the demand 
of the Duke of Thuringia. 

Klingsohr upheld it warmly, and in a discourse which 
serves as a picture of Thuringia at that period, he showed 
forth the riches and power of Hermann ; he enumerated the 
twelve Counts, who were his vassals, not to speak of knight? 
and barons; he praised his fertile and well-cultivated coun 
try ; he also told of its fine forests and well-stored fish 
ponds, and how comfortable the people were, " drinking 
strong beer, and eating good white bread." He then eulo 
gised the personal character of the Duke, and added, that 
the young Louis appeared to him to possess all the good 
qualities that could be expected at his age. Queen Gertrude 
also approved of the request of Hermann, and Andrew, 
yielding to her influence, agreed to part with his beloved 
child. But before he would permit her to set out, he 
wished to celebrate a feast in her honour, and having as 
sembled all the nobles and their ladies, he ordered brilliant re 
joicings. The games, dances, music, and the songs of the min 
strels, lasted three days, after which the Thuringian ambassador! 
took leave of the king. The attendants brought with them the 
little Elizabeth, then aged four years, and, covering her with a 
silken robe embroidered with gold, laid her in a cradle of mas- 
rive silver, and thus gave her into the care of the Thuringians. 

The king said to the Lord de Varila " I confide to thy 
knightly honour my sweetest consolation." The Queen, also, 
came weeping and recommending her child to his care. The 
knight answered them thus " I will willingly take charge 
of her, and shall always be her faithful servant." He kepi 



114 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

his word, as we shall hereafter see. Before leaving Pre* 
burg, the ambassadors received from the king and queen 
presents of immense value, some for themselves, and some to 
be carried to Duke Hermann, as the dower of the princes* 
Contemporary narratives enumerate in detail these presents 
aying, that never were seen in Thuringia thicgs so precious 
and beautiful. 

Hence we may conclude, that this marriage served to in- 
troduce into Germany a new development of the luxury of 
the East, which, at so distant a period, must have been of 
importance in the history of Germanic art and industry. 
Queen Gertrude added to these gifts a thousand marks of 
silver, and promised that, if she lived, she would double the 
sum from her privy purse. 

The ambassadors at last set out. They had come with 
two carriages, and returned with thirteen, so greatly had 
their baggage increased. King Andrew confided to them 
thirteen noble Hungarian maidens, as companions to his 
daughter, all of whom Duke Hermann dowered and mar 
ried in Thuringia. The journey homeward was performed 
without delay ; as soon as Duke Hermann and the Duchess 
Sophia received news of their approach, and of the success 
of their mission, they knelt and blessed God for having 
listened to their prayers. Then they descended from Wart- 
bourg to Eisenach, in order to receive their ambassadors, 
whom God had so well guided. 

If we are to believe one of the official chroniclers of the 
court, the joy of having received the young princess almost 
get their senses astray. The whole party entered the Hostel 
of Hellgref, where Kliiigsohr had made the prediction, and 
which was then the best in the town. There the Landgrave 
took the little Elizabeth in his arms, and, pressing her to nil 
bosom, thanked God for having granted her to him. 

He then returned to Wartbourg to prepare for her recejy 



OF UTKGABT. 115 

t!on, but the Duchess remained all night with the child. Th 
next morning, she conducted her to the castle, where th 
Duke had assembled all his court, and to which a number of 
the citizens of Eisenach and their wives were invited, to set 
the child that God and the king of Hungary had sent them. 

The princess, aged four years, was solemnly affianced to 
the Duke Louis, who was then eleven ; and, according to 
custom, they were laid side by side in one bed. Then there 
were, as at Presburg, sumptuous banquets and festivals, at 
which poetry, the principal magnificence of the court of 
Thuringia, shone with its accustomed brilliancy. 

Dating from this time, Elizabeth never left him who was 
to be her husband, and whom she then called her brother. 
A touching and salutary custom existed in Catholic ages and 
families to bring up together those whose after lives were 
destined to be united ; a blessed inspiration, which mingled in 
the mind of man the pure name of sister with the sacred name 
of wife, so that none of the young heart s freshness was lost, 
but the fond and varying emotions of brotherhood served to 
prepare for the grave and arduous duties of marriage. Thus, 
all that was ardent and impetuous in the soul was calmed 
down and sanctified ; thus the purest and closest relations of 
life were from childhood joined in an earnest and only love, 
providing for after years the remembrance of the sweetest 
*nd inoet holy affections. 



116 LIFE Of ST. KLIZABETH. 



CHAPTER II. 

OW TEE DEAR SAINT ELIZABETH HONOURED GOD EN HEE CHTU>X 

Elegit eum Deus et pruelegit. Office of Holy Women, 
" Cinq ans avait d aage droit 
Sainte Ysabiauz la Dieu aim6e, 
La fille le Roi d Hongrie, 
Quant a bien faire cominensa." 

fiutebeuf MS., Bibl. Roy. 768S. 

IN the bosom of the family from which Providence thus 
separated the little Elizabeth, two causes contributed to de 
velop in her soul those virtues that were recognised in her 
even from the cradle. She had, in the first place, an illus 
trious example of the union of all Christian virtues with 
sovereign majesty, in the person of her maternal aunt, Red- 
wige, Duchess of Poland, who in after years merited the 
veneration of the faithful, and whose austere and fervent 
piety contributed even then to the glory of her family, and 
was a subject of edification which Elizabeth well knew how to 
luuierHUuid and to imitate. But, besides the influence of this 
example, God permitted that unforeseen misfortune should 
throw a shade of sadness over her youth, and teach her thus 
early the frailty of earthly grandeur. Two years after she 
had been brought from Hungary to Thuringia, her mother, 
Queen Gertrude, suffered a most cruel death, having bees 
assassinated by the subjects of her husband. The cause of 
her death is uncertain ; according to some, she was immo 
lated by the sovereign of Croatia and Dalmatia, who wished 
thus to revenge the honour of his wife, outraged by Berch- 
told, brother to the queen ; according to others she was tb* 



OF HUNGARY. 



117 



rictira of a plot formed against the life of her husband, and 
that, in order to give him time to escape, she delivered her 
self up to the blows of the conspirators. This fatal news soon 
reached Elizabeth, and all historians agree in regarding it aa 
one of the principal sources of the grave thought and profound 
piety which were manifested in all her childish actions. 

On Elizabeth s arrival in Thuringia, the Landgrave se 
lected to be her companions, seven maidens of the most noble 
houses of his dominions, amongst whom was his own daughter 
Agnes ; all were about the age of the young princess, and 
were brought up with her One of these, Guta, who was five 
years old, being a year older than Elizabeth, remained in her 
service until a short time before her death. 

And when God called her to himself, and when the report 
of her sanctity, noised abroad, attracted the attention of the 
ecclesiastical authorities, this same Guta, being publicly inter 
rogated, related the recollections of her childhood. It is to 
her depositions, carefully preserved and transmitted to the 
Holy See, that we owe the knowledge of the details we are 
about to give of the occupations of the first years of our 
Elizabeth. 

From this tender age all her thoughts and feelings seemed 
to be centred in the desire of serving God, and of meriting 
heaven. Whenever an opportunity offered, she went to the 
Castle Chapel, and there, lying at the foot of the Altar, she 
would open before her a large psalter, though as yet she 
knew not how to read ; then folding her little hands, and 
raising her eyes to heaven, she gave herself up with wonder 
ful recollection to meditation and prayer 

At play with her companions, for instance, in hopping 
along she led so that all were obliged to follow her to the 
Chapel, and when she found it shut, she would fervently 
kiss th* lock, door, and walls, out of love for the Lord who 
reeid?d within it, concealed under the sacramental veils. 



118 LIFE OF BT. ELIZABETH, 

In all her sports, in which there were games of chance, 
she was governed by the thought of God. She hoped to 
gain for Him ; for all her winnings were distributed amongst 
poor girls, on whom she imposed the duty of reciting a cer 
tain number of " Paters" and " Aves" 

She continually sought occasions of union with God ; and 
when any obstacle prevented her saying as many prayers or 
making as many genuflexions as she would wish, she would 
eay to her little companions, " Let us lie upon the ground to 
measure which of us is the tallest." Then stretching her 
self successively by the side of each little girl, she would 
profit of the moment to humble herself before God, and to 
repeat an " Ave." When afterwards a wife and mother, she 
used to take a pleasure in relating these innocent wiles of her 
childhood. She often conducted her friends to the cemetery, 
and would say to them, "Remember that one day we shal 1 be 
nothing but dust." Then arriving at the charnel hous* , she 
would continue thus, " Behold the bones of the dead ; these 
people were once living as we now are, and are dead as we 
shall be. For this reason we must love God ; kneel and say 
with me, Lord, by your cruel death, and by your dear 
Mother Mary, deliver these poor souls from their sufferings I 
Lord, by your five sacred wounds, grant that we may be 
saved." " These," says an old writer, " were her dances and 
her sports." The children repeated these prayers after her ; 
and, soon dazzled by the ascendancy which she acquired over 
them, they would relate that the infant Jesus often came to 
her, and saluting her tenderly, would play with her ; but she 
strictly forbade them to say such things. 

After her recreation she tried to learn as many prayers as 
possible. All who would speak to her of God and His holy 
law became dear to her. She assigned to herself a certain 
number of prayers to repeat daily, and when hindered from 
fulfilling this voluntary obligation, and obliged by her attend 



OF HUNUART. lit 

ants to go to bed, she never failed to acquit herself of hei 
devotions whilst they thought that she slept. Thus, like 
David, she " remembered the Lord upon her couch." She 
already appreciated the value of that pure modesty, which ia 
to be observed by Christian virgins, and always arranged hei 
veil so as that the least possible portion of her infantine fea 
tures could ouly be seen. 

The boundless charity, which was at a later period iden 
tified with her life, already inflamed her predestined soul. 
She distributed all the money that she received, or could, on 
any pretence, obtain from her adopted parents, amongst the 
poor. She would go into the offices and kitchens of the castle 
to try and gather remains of victuals, and these she used care 
fully to carry to starving creatures. 

This soon awakened against her the displeasure of th 
officers of the ducal house. According as she grew up, she 
increased in virtue and in piety ; she lived more to herself, 
recollected in the presence of God, who was graciously 
pleased henceforth to adorn her with His most rare and 
precious graces. 

One of the customs existing at this period, was that every 
princess and maiden of the highest rank should choose, by 
lot, one from amongst the holy Apostles to be her especial 
patron. Elizabeth, who had previously chosen the Blessed 
Virgin for her patroness and especial advocate, had also a 
veneration, an old manuscript says, a particular friendship, for 
St John the Evangelist which she entertained on account 
of the virginal purity of wLJch this holy Apostle was the 
type She began to praj- earnestly to our Lord, that He 
would assign to her St. John as her patron ; after which she 
humbly went with her companions to the election. For this 
purpose twelve tapers, each being inscribed with the name of 
an Apostle, were laid upon the Altar, and each postulant ad 
vanced and took the first that chance presented to her. Th* 



120 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH 

taper which bore the name of St. John was taken up by Eli 
zabeth, but not content with this coincidence with her wishes 
she twice renewed the trial, and had each time the same 
success. 

Believing herself recommended to the beloved Apostle by 
a special manifestation of Providence, she felt her devotion 
towards him increase, and during all her life she faithfully 
venerated him ; she never refused anything that was asked of 
her in St. John s name, whether it was to pardon an injury or 
to confer a benefit. Placed under this sacred patronage the 
pious child found therein a new motive to render herself wor 
thy of Heaven. She therefore redoubled her efforts to attain 
all Christian virtues, and augmented the number of her volun 
tary privations. 

She never neglected to sanctify the name of the Lord by a 
great reserve in her words. On Sundays and festivals she 
used to lay aside some portion of her jewels, preferring to 
honour God rather by humility of the heart and exterior, 
than by splendour of dress 

Guta tells us, that on these occasions she would not put 
on gloves or laced ruffles, until after Mass. 

Every day she sought opportunities of conquering hex 
gelf-will in little things, in order to prepare for making 
greater sacrifioes In her games, when she won, and that 
success made her quite joyous, she would suddenly stop, 
saying, "Now that I have been so fortunate, I will give up 
for the love of God." She loved dancing, according to the 
universal custom of the country wherein she was born, and 
of that in which she was reared ; but when she had danced 
ane figure, she would say, "It is enough to give one turn 
for the world. I will deprive myself of the others, in honour 
of Jesus Christ." 

Meanwhile the young Louis, her betrothed, was continu 
ally with her, and she felt great pleasure in being near him, 



OF HUWOARY. 121 

She called him " My dear Brother ;" and he was wont to 
addiass her thus : " My dear friend my sweet Sisfer" 

Thus passed the early days of this young girl ; the Lord 
who reserved her for so pure and so brilliant a destiny, had 
counted the number of her years, and willing soon to summon 
her to take her place in heaven, He opened to her thus early 
the treasury of his grace. Her life was destined to be toe 
short for any of those great interior revolutions which have 
distinguished the lives and conversions of some of the most 
illustrious saints. Xo storm of the heart was to darken the 
celestial ray that lighted her from the cradle to the tomb ! 

All was to correspond in her blessed career. She was not 
the only servant of God, who in early life rendered testimony 
to His mercy and power ; and certainly there is not for 
Christian eyes a sweeter sight, than the dawning of those 
great lights that are destined to illumine heaven and earttt 



122 L1FB OF ST. ELJZ41IIT* 



CHAPTER III. 

HOW THE DEAK SAINT ELIZABETH HAD TO SUFFER FOB 

Enntes ibant et flebant mittentes semlna stuu 

Veftlentes autem venient cam exultatione portant8 manipuloft ." 
Pa. cxxv. 7, 8. 

ELIZABETH bad scarcely attained her ninth year when the 
father of her betrothed, the Landgrave Hermann, died, in 
1216. One night he dreamed that skeletons of criminals 
exposed at the place of execution outside the gates of Eisenach, 
were suddenly transformed into white-robed virgins ; that these 
virgins came towards his bed, headed by our Lady and St. 
Catherine, towards whom he felt a particular devotion, and 
that they addressed him thus : " Thou must upon this spot 
build us a house, thou art to place therein consecrated virgins, 
and then, after a little while, we shall take thee to us." The 
Duke faithfully executed this command. He founded in the 
place indicated to him a convent of nuns under the iu vocation 
of St. Catherine, and installed there as first abbess a young 
widow, Imagina, Duchess of Braban f and designed this 
sanctuary for his own burial place, and that of his descendants. 
After this he died, and was interred as he had ordered. 

The young Louis, then scarcely sixteen years old, was his 
heir, being his eldest son ; the two younger brothers, Henry 
Raspon and Conrad, each received an appanage, with the 
title of Count, and shared in the government of part of the 
dominions of the Landgrave, according to the custom of the 
house of Thuringia. 

The death of Hermann was a misfortune to Elizabeth. 
That illustrious and pious prince had continued to love her 



OF HU1TGARY. 123 

en account of her precocious piety. He had always treated 
ner as his own daughter, and during his life no one dared to 
uterfere in her religious practices. 

But after his death it was no longer so. Though LOILS, 
whom she looked upon as her betrothed and her lord, had 
oecome sovereign of the country, his extreme youth made 
trim in some measure dependent on his mother, the Duchess 
Sophia, daughter of the celebrated Otto de Wittlesbach, Duke 
of Bavaria. This princess saw with displeasure Elizabeth s 
great devotion, and showed her discontent at it. The young 
Agues, sister of Louis, who was brought up with her future 
sister-in-law, and whose dazzling beauty had rendered he: 
more liable to be seduced by the vanities of the world, 
used to reproach her incessantly on her humble and retiring 
habits. She was wont to tell her plainly that she was only 
fit to be a waiting-maid or a servant The other young 
girls of the court, companions to the two princesses, seeing 
that every day Elizabeth took less share in their games, 
dances, and gay and frivolous life, used to repeat what they 
heard Agnes say, and would openly mock her. Even ths 
most influential officers of the ducal court, forgetful of the 
respect due to her royal birth, her sex, and extreme youth, 
blushed not to pursue her with derision and public insults. 
All agreed in saying that in nothing did she resemble a 
princess. 

Indeed Elizabeth showed a kind of distaste for the society 
of the young countesses and noble ladies who had been 
appointed as her companions. She preferred that of the 
humble daughters of some of the citizens of Eisenach, and 
even that of the girls in her service. Above all, she loved te 
surround herself with the children of the wom^n among whom 
he distributed her alms. 

The insults of which she was the object, ^rved to rende? 
this society more sweet and dear to her. i re never allowed 



124 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

pride, or wounded self-love, or even impatience, ;o dwell ii 
her heart. 

This first experience of the injustice of men, and of tha 
miseries of the world, became, as it were, a new link uniting 
her to God. She gathered therefrom new strength to love 
and serve Him. 

"As the lily among thorns," says one of her historiars, 
" the innocent Elizabeth budded and bloomed in the midst of 
bitterness, and spread all around ner the sweet and fragrant 
perfume of patience and humility." 

She gave at this time an example of that humility, which 
all the narrators of her life have carefully preserved. It was 
the feast of the Assumption, a day on which there were great 
indulgences in the churches consecrated to the Blessed Yir 
gin, and on which it was customary with the people to make 
an offering of the fruits and crops of the year. The Duchess 
Sophia said to Agnes and Elizabeth, " Let us go down to 
Eisenach to the church of our dear Lady, to hear the High 
Mass of the Teutonic knights, who honour her specially ; 
perhaps we may also hear a sermon in her praise. Put on 
your richest robes and golden crowns." The young prin 
cesses, being adorned as she had ordered, descended with 
her to the city, and entering the church, knelt on a faldstool 
before the great crucifix. At the sight of the image of the 
dying Saviour, Elizabeth took off her crown, and laying it on 
a bench, prostrated herself, without other ornament on her 
head than her hair. The duchess seeing her thus, said rudely 
to her, " What ails you, Lady Elizabeth, what new whim is 
this, do you wish that every one should laugh at you ? Young 
ladies should hold themselves erect, and not throw themselves 
upon the ground like fools or old women. Can you not do 
as we do, instead of behaving like an ill-reared child ? la 
your crown too heavy ? Why do you remain thus stooped 
like a peasant?" Elizabeth rising, humbly answered hei 



Or HUNGARY. 

mother-in-law, " Dear lady, do not blame me ; behold before 
my eyes my God and my King, the sweet and merciful Jesus, 
crowned with sharp thorns, and can I, who am but a vile 
creature, remain before him wearing pearls, gold, and jewels ? 
My coronet would be a mockery of His thorny wreath I* 
And she began to weep bitterly, for already the love of 
Christ had wounded her tender heart. She then knelt 
humbly as before, leaving Sophia and Agnes to speak mu:h 
as they pleased, and continued to pray with such fervour 
that, having placed a fold of her mantle before her eyes, it 
became saturated with her tears. The other two princesses, 
in order to avoid a contrast so disadvantageous to them 
in the eyes of the people, were obliged to imitate her, and 
to draw their veils over their faces, " which it would have 
been much more pleasing to them not to do," adds the chro 
nicler. 

Such traits served but to increase the hatred with which 
profane souls were inflamed against her. According as she 
grew up this feeling seemed to be propagated more and more, 
and when she had attained a marriageable age, there was a 
general explosion of persecutions and insults against her, 
throughout the whole court of Thuringia. The relatives of 
the Landgrave, his councillors and principal vassals, all de 
clared themselves averse to such an union. They clamoured 
loudly and said that she should be sent back to her father, 
and restore her troth-plight. That such a Beguine was not 
fit for their prince that he should have a spouse, noble, rich, 
well -connected, and of truly royal manners that he would 
do much better to marry the daughter of a neighbouring 
prince who could give him help in his need. Whereas Eliza 
beth s father lived too far away for that, or even to revenge 
the insults offered to his daughter if he felt them, and further 
more that he seemed to have forgotten her already, and had 
lot sent the remainder of the dowry promised by her mother 



126 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

The intimate companions of the young duke seized every op 
portuiiity of inducing him to give up Elizabeth, and to send 
her back to Hungary, because she was too timid and reserved. 
The Duchess-mother used every effort to oblige Elizabeth tc 
take the veil in some convent. Agnes assailed her with 
contempt and insult she incessantly told her that she had 
mistaken her vocation in not becoming a servant. " My 
Lady Elizabeth," said she to her one day, " if you imagine 
that our lord, my brother, will marry you, you mistake very 
much ; or if he does you must become quite a different per 
son from what yon uow are." Such was the treatment which 
she had to endure every day she deeply felt the unhappiness 
of her position there was she, still a child and already with 
out help, without friends, without human consolation, in a 
manner exiled from her country, deprived of paternal protec 
tion, in the midst of a strange court, exposed to the insults 
and persecutions of those who were God s enemies and hers. 
Yet this made her the better recognise that her life should be 
but a pilgrimage in this uncertain world. She had recourse to 
God, and in silence confided to Him her griefs and opened to 
Him her heart. She sought to unite her will to that of her 
Heavenly Father, and begged of Him to accomplish His 
divine will in her by any means that he thought fit. 

Then when at the foot of tihe Cross, peace and resignation 
had been restored to her soul, she would cheerfully rejoin her 
maidens, and the poor girls whom she had chosen as her 
companions ; and this conduct redoubled against her the 
mockeries and invectives of the two princesses and the cour 
tiers. 

Here one of her biographers interrupts his recital to 
address to her this prayer : 

" most dear St. Elizabeth, I honour thy virtuous youth 
and weep over the contempt and persecution thou didst suffer 
Why have I not passed my early years as holily as thou didst ! 



Or HUNGARY. 127 

v hy did not I, like thee, suffer patiently all contradictions T 
T oeseech thee, by thy blessed childhood, to atone for my in 
fo, itine malice, and, by thy heioic patience, to obtain for m 
pardon of my wilful anther and of all my faults " 



128 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 



CHAPTER IT. 

HOW THE TOTING LOUIS WAS FAITHFUL TO THE DEAR SAIfFf 

ELIZABETH, AND HOW HE MARRIED HER, 

*Lt*re ctun mnllere adolescentiaa tne. ... In amore ejns deleeUw 
Jugiter." Prov. r. 28, 29. 

THE just God who had received the prayers and tears of 
his child, Elizabeth, did not delay to reward her submission 
and patience. 

Alone in the midst of his court, the young Duke Louis 
was not prejudiced against her, and, deceiving the hopes and 
wishes of all, he remained faithful to her who from his child 
hood he had regarded as Lis bride. His love for her increased 
every day, and though, probably out of regard for his mother, 
he did not think proper to manif st it publicly, nevertheless, 
this pure and holy affection was dfr ply planted in his heart. 

On this point he was as deaf tc the exhortations and sar 
casms of his mother, as to the counsels of his false friends and 
the voice of his passions. He regarded with joy and admira 
tion what attracted to Elizabeth the insults of the world, 
ker extreme modesty, the absence of all pomp in her dress, 
her piety, charity, and he thought how happy he would feel 
in learning from her these virtues. Hi chaplain, Berchtold, 
who has written his life, doubted not but that God, by a 
secret inspiration, turned his heart towards the royal exile. 
For it was not only as the woman who was to be his wife, 
with a human or conjugal love, that he regarded her, but afl 
a sister in Jesus Christ, with an affecti n that seemed to ha^e 
been instilled into his heart by the haud of the Most High. 

The more the wicked surrounded him with perfidious coun 



OF HUNGARY. 129 

els, the more did he feel his soul penetrated with fidelity 
and tenderness for this innocent stranger ; according as he 
saw her hated by others on account of her virtues, the greater 
necessity did he feel for loving and defending her. Louis 
profited of every opportunity, when, without offending his 
mother, he could go secretly to console Elizabeth in her mo 
ments of sadness. In this solitude, without other witness 
than God, who had already blessed their holy union, they 
spoke of their secret and mutual love, and the prince sought 
by tender and encouraging words to heal the wounds which 
others inflicted on this young soul. Thus she experienced 
from these meetings unspeakable consolation. Whenever 
Louis went on distant hunting parties, or when he passed 
through trading cities, he used to purchase some article that 
appeared to him rare and precious, to present to his betrothed 
Never did he return empty-handed ; he used to bring either a 
rosary of coral, a little crucifix, a pious picture, or a knife, a 
purse, gloves, brooches, golden chains, or pins, or something 
that he knew she had not before. At his return she used 
joyously to salute him ; he would tenderly embrace her, and 
present ner with whatever he had brought, as a love-gift, 
and a sign that he had thought of her during his absence. 

On one occasion, when the Duke was accompanied to the 
chase by several strange lords, who did not leave him until 
his return, he omitted to bring the accustomed present to 
Elizabeth. The princess, rendered distrustful by persecution 
and injustice, felt this forgetfulness deeply ; it was remarked 
by her enemies with joy, and they boasted of it as a symptom 
of a change in Louis s feelings. Having met Lord Gaultier 
de Varila, the great cup-bearer, who had brought her from 
Hungary, to whose care her father had specially confided 
her, and who fought for her, to the best of his power, against 
the intrigues of the other courtiers, Elizabeth confided he? 
grief to this old friend The good knight sympathised in her 
6* 



130 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

affliction, and promised to speak of it to his lord. He sooa 
had an opportunity, for Louis took him on a hunting party 
in the neighbourhood of Wartbourg. As they reclined to 
gether on the grass in a certain wood, whence can be seen 
in the foreground Inselberg, the highest mountain of Thuringia, 
Lord Gaul tier said to him, " Will you be pleased, my Lord, 
to answer a question 1 am going to put to you ?" The good 
prince replied, " Speak confidently, and I will tell thee all 
thou wouldst know." " Then," said the knight, " what are 
you going to do with my lady Elizabeth, whom I brought to 
you. Will you take her for your wife, or will you break your 
troth-plight and send her back to her father ?" Louis arose 
immediately, and, stretching forth his hand towards Inselberg, 
he said, " Dost thou see that mountain before us ? Well! if 
it were of pure gold, from its base to its summit, and that all 
should be given to me on the condition of sending away my 
Elizabeth, I would never do it. Let them think or say of her 
what they please ; I say this that I love her, and love 
uothing better in this world : I will have my Elizabeth ; she 
is dearer to me for her virtue and piety than all the kingdoms 
and riches of the earth." " I beg of you, my lord," said 
Graultier, "to let me repeat to her these words." "Tell 
them to her," said Louis, " and tell her also that I will never 
listen to those who counsel me against her ; and give her this 
as a new pledge of my faith" so saying, he put his hand into 
his alms-purse, and took from it a little double-cased mirror, 
bet in silver, within which was a picture of our crucified 
Lord. The knight hastened to Elizabeth, told her what 
h .ad happened, ; md : v- her the mirror She smiled with 
irreat joy, and thanked Lord (ranltier for having thus acted 
towards her as a father and friend ; then, opening the mirror 
and seeing the picture of our Lord, she fervently kissed it 
ind pressed it to her heart. 

But the time was soon to come, when Louis could keep 



OF HUNGARY 131 

his word as a Christian and a prince, and when Elizabeth 
was to be rewarded for her patience, and consoled for hei 
triads. In 1218, on the feast of St. Kilian, the Duke having 
accomplished his eighteenth year, was, with several young 
Lords, armed as a knight, in the Church of St. George at 
Eisenach ; the Bishop of Naumburg come there to bless 
their swords. 

The following year was partly occupied in sustaining a 
war against Sigefrid, Archbishop of Mayence, who, on 
account of certain disputes with Hermann, had excommuni 
cated his son ; the latter, having boldly entered into Hesse, 
and there ravaged the possessions of the prelate and his 
friends, obliged him to sue for peace. A conference was 
held at Fulda, on the feast of St. Boniface, in the year 
1219 ; the Landgrave was formally absolved, and a perfect 
reconciliation took place. 

On his return from this first campaign, Louis proclaimed 
his intention to marry his betrothed, and at the same time 
imposed silence on all who were inclined to give insulting of 
perverse counsel against her. 

No one dared to combat so decided a will ; the cunning of 
men was henceforth powerless in striving any longer to sepa 
rate two souls that God in his eternal councils had united. 

" Admire," says their historian, " how this happy young 
man and chaste husband, when about to marry, remained 
deaf to impious advice, and a stranger to the thirst for gold, 
knowing that a prudent wife is the good gift promised by the 
Lord to the man who lives worthily in this world." 

It was : ji 1220, that the marriage was celebrated with 
great pomp at the castle of Wartbourg. The Duke invited 
to it all his counts of Hesse and Thuringia, and a vast num 
ber of knights and squires. All the guests were lodged at 
his expense in the town of Eisenach. By common consent, 
the knights resigned the honour of conducting the bridt 



132 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

to the Church to Count Meinhard de Muhlberg, and Lord 
Gaultier de Varila, whc had sought her nine years before in 
Hungary, and who now, as it were, placed the seal on the 
result of their embassy. Elizabeth was also accompanied by 
all the stately dames and gentle maidens of the country The 
chroniclers do nor vpeak of the sentiments with which the 
nobles saw the triumph of her who had been for so long a 
time an object of their disdain and persecution. But they 
boast of the harmonious music of the high mass, the luxury 
of the banquets, the joyousness of the dances, and the splen 
dour of the tournament, which was held for three days, and 
at which several young knights distinguished themselves. 
After these three festival days, the nobles and their wives 
successively returned to their castles, and the habitual order 
reigned again throughout the vast manor of Wartbourg. 

The young spouses belonged henceforth to each other. 
Louis was twenty years old Elizabeth but thirteen ; both 
even more youthful in heart than in age both united more 
by spirit and faith than by human affection. We are told 
that they loved each other in God with an inconceivable 
love, and for this reason the holy angels dwelt continually 
with them. 



F HUNGARY. 133 



CHAPTER V. 

OW THE ll/RE LOCIS, HUSBAND OF THE DEAR SAINT ELI7ABHTH, 
WAS AGREEABLE TO GOD AND MAN. 

" Erat Tir llle simplex et rectus, ac timens Deum et recedena a nulo." 

Job 1. 1. 

THE husband whom God in his mercy had destined for hii 
pious servant, and whom she regarded with a tenderness at 
once so deep and so reserved, was assuredly worthy of her, 
and of her love. All the historians of Thuringia and ol 
our saint concur in describing him in the most attractive 
manner. With the exception of his glorious namesake, Saint 
Louis of France, the annals of his times do not tell us of any 
prince who, though so young, possessed in so high a degree 
the virtues of a Christian and of a sovereign. 

The nobility and purity of his soul were manifested in hia 
exterior. His manly beauty was celebrated by his contem 
poraries. All boast of the perfect proportion of his figure, the 
freshness of his complexion, his long fair hair, and the serene, 
benevolent expression of his countenance. Many imagined 
they saw in him a striking resemblance to the portrait which 
tradition has preserved of the Son of God made man. The 
charm of his smile was irresistible. His deportment was noble 
and dignified the tone of his voice extremely sweet, fto one 
could see without loving him. 

What particularly distinguished him from his earliest 
years, was, an unstained purity of soul and body. He was 
as modest and bashful as a young girl ; it was easy to make 
him blush, and he observed in his conversation the greatest 
NMTTfb 



134 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

It was not only in his first innocent years that he prized 
this treasure of purity ; it was not with him the result of a 
youth preserved from danger ; nor did it arise from passing 
emotions or resolutions, sincere when formed, but destined to 
Tanish at the first assault of the senses ; but it was a firm 
and deep-rooted will, which he made the rule of his whole 
life ; it was an inflexible resistance to the most frequent and 
dangerous temptations. 

Independent of control at a very early age, master at 
sixteen of one of the richest and most powerful principalities 
of Germany, surrounded by all the comforts and luxuries of 
that eventful period, and, above all, by perfidious counsellors 
and flatterers, eager to see his virtue destroyed, he never 
yielded ; never even did the shadow of sin tarnish the fidelity 
that he had promised to God, to himself, and to her whom he 
loved in God. It will be permitted to us to cite here two 
anecdotes which contemporary writers have related in detail, 
and which seem to us to be of a nature to edify devout 
souls. 

A short time after the death of his father, Louis went 
with his mother, the duchess Sophia, to the castle of Ebers- 
berg. A certain lord wished to put his innocence to the 
proof, and having found in the neighbouring village of Aner- 
bach a young girl of remarkable beauty, he had her brought 
to the castle, and even to the chamber of the prince. For 
this it was necessary to cross the courtyard, where at the 
moment the little Elizabeth was playing with her companions 
Seeing this stranger being led to her betrothed, she began t 
weep, and, when asked the cause of her tears, she replied, 
" Because they wish to take my brother s precious soul ana 
destroy it." 

Meanwhile the young duke Louis lay upon his bed, for it 
ras during the heat of the day, when he heard a knock at 
his door ; he leaped up, and went, barefooted as he was. to 



OF HUNGARY. 185 

opei it. The young girl entered with the knight, and after 
they were seated, Louis said to her, 

" Maiden, why come you here V 

" I know not, my lord," she replied. 

" Then," said the knight, " I brought her to you that you 
might do with her what you please." 

At these words the pious and prudent prince called one of 
bis chamberlains, and desired him to bring him three marks 
of pure silver. When he had received them, he gave them 
to the girl, and said, " Lower your veil, fair maiden, and take 
this small present as a blessing, that you may return with joy 
to your family." Then taking the unworthy knight aside, he 
ordered him to restore the girl to her relatives free from all 
stain. " If the least harm happen to her," said he, " I 
promise thee that thou shalt be hanged." The narrator says 
that he conceals the name of this false knight to avoid giving 
scandal, and adds, " Elizabeth, seeing that the stranger de 
parted so soon, rejoiced at it, and thanked God." 

Another time, as he looked from a window at Eisenach on 
a square where the people were dancing, an attendant pointed 
out to him the wife of one of the citizens who was remark 
able for her beauty and grace ; he added, that if she pleased 
the prince, he would take care that she should be made 
agreeable to his wishes. The prince, quite irritated, turned 
towards him, saying, " Be silent. If ever again thou darest 
to sully my ears by such language, I will drive thee from my 
com L How darest thou propose to me to become an accom 
plice in a crime which I may be called upon to judge and 
punish every day." So rare and courageous a virtue could 
have for its foundation only an active and practical faith in 
nl] the duties imposed by the Church. 

Every day the holy mysteries were celebrated in his pres 
ence, and he assisted at them with exemplary devotion. He 
was a zealous defender of the rights of the Church and tht 



136 LIFE Of ST. ELIZABETH, 

monasteries, but he well knew how to distinguish between 
these rights and the personal interests of some prelates, ai 
we have seen by his war against the Archbishop of Mayenc* 
But when the brutal injustice and avidity of some of his lay 
vassals troubled the peaceful and benevolent lives of the 
ministers of the Lord, he mounted horse, and went with 
lance in hand to fight for the cause of God and the poor 
people. 

The society in which he took most pleasure was that of 
religious men, and the usual termination of his rides in the 
time of peace was the Benedictine Abbey of Reinhartsbrunn, 
where he had chosen his burial place. His first visit on 
arriving there was to the guest-house for the poor and 
pilgrims, which was an essential part of every monastery. 
He tried to console the sick and infirm by his presence and 
gentle words, and always left them, as alms, part of his rich 
costume, or some other present. When returned to his castle, 
he endeavoured to endure some of the privations of which he 
saw the example in the religious life. Through a spirit of 
penance he never eat salted or spiced meats- -this contrasted 
strongly with the existing customs of the German princes 
he never drank beer, and used wine only when he was ill. 
This simple and constant fidelity to the most rigorous duties 
of a Christian life served to exhibit more brilliantly the 
qualities of a true knight, and of a wise and amiable 
prince. 

No sovereign of his time surpassed him in courage, nor 
e?en in physical strength and agility in the exercises of the 
body. He displayed this courage on an occasion which the 
historians have carefully commemorated. The emperor made 
him a present of a lion, and one morning the duke, lightly 
clad, and entirely without armour, was walking in the court- 
rard ; he saw the lion, who had escaped from his den, running 
towards him roaring. Without being at all lightened, he 



OF HUNGARY. 131 

itood firmly, clenched his hands, and menaced him with his 
yoice, trusting in God. The lion came immediately wagging 
his tail, and lay at his feet. A sentinel who was on the 
ramparts, attracted by the roaring of the lion, perceived the 
danger of his master, and called for help. The lion allowed 
himself to be chained without any resistance, and many 
persons saw in this power exercised over ferocious animals an 
evident pledge of celestial favour, merited by the piety of the 
prince, and the sanctity of the young Elizabeth. To this 
courage, of which, in the continuation of this history, we will 
find many other proofs, he joined in a high degree that noble 
courtesy which St. Francis of Assisium, his sublime contem 
porary, named " The Sister of Charity. 11 He bore towards 
all women a respect full of modesty. He was to every one, 
and particularly to his inferiors, unchangeably benevolent 
and affable. He loved to give pleasure to others, and never 
repulsed any one by pride or coldness. 

A sweet and frank gaiety, an amiable familiarity, marked 
all hip domestic life. His knights and esquires praised his 
great generosity, the counts and lords who came to his court 
were treated with the highest respect, and with all the honours 
due to their rank. 

To these chivalrous virtues he added all those of a Chris 
tian sovereign. The only vehement passion that all his 
historians remark in him was that for justice. He loved it 
with intense devotion ; and this love gave him strength suffi 
cient to punish the violators of the laws. He banished from 
his court, and deprived of their employments, all those who 
were haughty to the poor, as well as persons who allowed 
themselves to be carried into committing acts of violence, and 
those who brought him false and malicious tales. Blasphemers 
and men who blushed not to speak impure words, were con 
demned to wear, during a certain time, in public, a mark o( 
ignominy. 



138 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

Inflexible towards those who outraged the law of God, h 
was indulgent and patient to those who failed in the obser 
vance of his own enactments. When some of his servants 
would forget themselves before him, he would gently say, 
" Dear children, act not thus, for you afflict my heart." 

To all his deliberations he brought a tried prudence his 
military expeditions and political actions show a skill and 
foresight that do not appear easily reconcileable with his 
extreme youth and the simplicity of his character. 

He occupied himself with a zeal and assiduity in all the 
labours that the government of his dominions imposed upon 
him. His regard for truth was so great that his least word 
inspired the same security as would the most solemn oath 
of another. "One could build upon his word as upon a 
rock." 

Full of mercy and generosity for the poor, he showed a 
lively solicitude for all classes of his people. All who were 
injured, no matter by whom, came to him with confidence, 
and never in vain ; more than once he took the field to avenge 
wrongs inflicted on his meanest subjects. 

Under such a prince, the moral and material prosperity 
of Thuringia could not but increase ; the chroniclers of the 
country have celebrated with enthusiasm the happiness that 
it enjoyed during his too short reign, and the fruit which was 
derived from the example of the virtues of the Sovereign. 
The nobility imitated their head, and no longer were vassals 
heard complaining cf the warlike and oppressive habits of 
their lords. The people were obedient and tranquil ; union, 
peace, and safety reigned throughout the country all with 
one common voice joined in proclaiming the happiness that 
Thuringia owed to the wisdom of Duke Louis. 

In a word, all his character and life are contained in the 
noble motto which he had chosen from his earliest yeart 
) Chastity, Justice towards all" 



OF HUNGARY. 139 

He realised more than any other, the glorious belief of 
Catholic ages, which established a fundamental analogy be 
tween Chivalry and the Sacerdotal character, for true knights 
were priests armed with justice and faith, as the priest* wert 
the knights of the Word and of prayer. 



)40 LIFK OF ST. ELIZABETH, 



CHAPTER VI 

HOW THE DUKE LOUIS AND THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH LIVED TO 
GETHER BEFORE GOD IN THE HOLY STATE OF MARRIAGE. 

Pare bona, mailer bona, in parte timentium Deum dabitur viro pro factis bont*. 

Prw. xxvl. 8. 

Volnerastl cor meum soror me sponsa. Cant. iv. 9. 

A PRINCE who was so perfect a model of a true Christian, 
couid not receive a sweeter recompense in this world than the 
love of a saint. We have seen how our Elizabeth retained 
as her only connecting link with the worldly life, this love 
which she associated with such religious feelings. On his 
part, Louis failed not to preserve the tender fidelity of his 
early years. 

Elizabeth was gifted with all that could touch and win a 
young heart. Adorned before God with piety an! humility, 
in the eyes of men she possessed all personal attractions. 
The historians who have preserved her portrait represent her 
beauty as most regular and perfect; hei complexion was 
slear brown, her hair black, her figure of unrivalled grace 
and elegance her deportment grave, noble and majestic 
above all, her eyes beamed with tenderness, charity and mercy. 
It is easy to imagine that this exterior beauty reflected thus 
dazzlingly the interior perfections of her soul. 

It was not on the ephemeral feelings of purely human 
admiration that these young people founded the unalterable 
union of their hearts but it was on a common faith, and on 
the strict practice of the virtues that this faith teaches, and 
the duties it imposes. 

Notwithstanding: her youth and the almost child-like viv* 



OF HUNGARY. 141 

city of her love for her husband, Elizabeth never forgot that 
he was her head, as Jesus Christ is head of the Church, and 
that she should be obedient -to him in all things as the Church 
is to Jesus Christ. She joined then to her ardent love for 
him a great respect she hastily obeyed his least sign or word, 
and had a scrupulous care that by none of her words or actions 
he should be annoyed or receive the slightest grounds for im 
patience. The yoke to which she submitted was in all things 
as the Church wishes it should be, a bond of love and peace, 
for Louis gave her full liberty to perform the works that in 
terested her most those of piety and mercy. 

He even encouraged and sustained her in these holy exer 
cises with a pious care, and only put a stop to them when it- 
seemed to him that her zeal would carry her too far ; this he 
did by addressing to her words dictated by affectionate pru 
dence and always listened to with docility. Every night the 
young wife, profiting of the real or apparent sleep of her 
husband, would get out of bed, and kneeling by its side 
would pray earnestly, thinking of the holy crib at Bethlehem, 
and thanking the Lord that He had deigned to be born at 
midnight for her salvation and that of the human race. 

Her husband often awoke, and fearing that she was too 
delicate to endure such penances, he would beg of her to give 
over. " Cease, dear sister," he would say, " and take thy 
rest" -then taking her hand he would hold it until she was 
agaiit by his side, or until he would fall asleep leaving hit 
hand in hers then she used to bathe in tears of pious fer 
vour that beloved hand that seemed to ally her to earth 
Louis never employed any constraint to oblige her to discon 
tinue her pious wcrks, they rejoiced him and gladdened his 
heart. Ysentrude. one of Elizabeth s most confidential at 
tendants, related to the ecclesiastical judges a circumstance 
that proved Louis s indulgence. The Duchess, in order not 
to oversleep herself nor to disturb her husband, ordered one of 



142 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

her maids of honour to awake her at a certain hour by catching 
her foot it happened on one occasion that Ysentrude caught 
the Duke s foot, he awoke suddenly, but guessing the cause of 
the disturbance, he lay down again without showing the least 
sign of impatience. " He saw," says the historian, " that she 
loved God with her whole heart, and that thought comforted 
him ; and she confiding in the piety and wisdom of her hus 
band did not conceal from him any, of her penitential exercises, 
well knowing that he would never interfere between her and 
her Saviour." 

To the frequent proofs of their mutual tenderness both 
added gentle exhortations to advance together in the way of 
perfection; this holy emulation fortified and preserved them 
in the service of God by it they learned to draw even from 
the ardent affection which united them, the charm and feeling 
of the Supreme Love. 

The grave and pure character of their mutual devotion 
was revealed by the touching custom which they preserved 
even after marriage, of calling each other brother and sister, 
as it were to perpetuate the remembrance of their childhcod ; 
and make their whole lives one unbroken attachment. 

The happiness of being together was indispensable to 
them ; so powerful were the chaste attractions of each, so 
entire was the union of their souls, that they could ill endure 
being separated even for the shortest time. Thus when the 
Duke s hunting excursions were not too distant he always 
took his dear Elizabeth with him and she was happy to ac 
company him, even though she had to travel over rugged 
roads and dangerous paths, and to brave storms ; but neither 
tail, nor snow, nor floods, nor excessive heats, could hinder 
her from going, so anxious was she to be near him who Lever 
kept her from God. Nevertheless, it sometimes happened 
that Louis was obliged by his duties as a Sovereign to under 
take long journeys, even out of his own dominions, where ht 



Vf HI eiEt. 142 



could not bring his wife ; then as soon as he set out, she 
would lay aside her royal robes, and covering her head with a 
veil, would put on the costume of a widow. Thus she would 
remain during his absence, awaiting his return in prayers, 
vigils and severe mortifications. 

But as soon as the approach of Louis was announced, she 
used to hastily adorn herself with all the care and magnifi 
cence her rank required. "It is not," she would say to her 
maidens, " through carnal pleasure nor vanity that I deck 
myself thus God is my witness, but only through Christian 
charity, that I may remove from my brother all occasions of 
discontent or sin, if any thing in me should displease him, 
that he may love but me in the Lord, and that God who has 
consecrated our lives upon earth may unite us in heaven." 

Then she would go forth to meet him with a simple, child 
like joy, and while they remained together she would use 
every effort to please his eyes and his heart. At table she 
could not bear to sit at a distance from her husband, but 
would take her place by his side, which was expressly con 
trary to the custom then observed by ladies of high rank. 
In this way she not only gratified herself by being as near as 
possible to her loved lord, but she felt that her presence served 
to check the light and frivolous discourse of the young knigKta. 

Nothing indeed could be more imposing even to worldly 
ouls than the sight of so much virtue in these young persons, 
United by a holy concord, full of purity and humility before 
God, full of charity and good- will towards men, loving each 
other with a love that drew them both to God, tLey offered 
to heaven and earth the most edifying sight, and, in a*iuoip* 
tion, realized the charming picture which the greatev ol 0U< 
olic poets Las traced of a celestial marriage : 

LA lor conoordia e i lor lietl sembiant*. 
Amore e inaraviglia e dolce egnardo, 
Faoeano esser cagion de pensier santl 

Danta, Farad, o. It 



144 Lin or ST. KLIIABKTB. 



CHAPTER VII. 

*W THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH PRACTISED THB TOMTITl Off 

MORTIFICATION. 

Or 1 dame ainsl vaen, 

Et de sa Tie a fait eseu, 

For 1 arme deffendre et oouvrlr, 

Et por saint Paradis ouvrir. 

Rwtebtuf. MS. / 84 

BEHOLD then our young princess in possession of all the 
happiness of early years, of the sweet joys of the in rning 
of life that no after pleasures can replace, that no grief can 
banish from the memory ; those joys whose absence darkens 
(iff. whose remembrance suffices to alleviate the deepest woe 
Thus God often grants this consolation (like the dew of morn) 
to his creatures, that they may be better able to endure the 
" labours of the day and the heats." 

Bu-t Elizabeth, whose mind was fixed on heaven, thongh 
accepting this happiness with a joyful submission, understood 
its danger, and for this predestined soul it was a trial over 
which she was bound to triumph. 

She felt that the grace which God had granted her in 
uniting her to him she loved so much, obliged her to a more 
Eeaious fidelity, and a more ardent gratitude towards her 
celestial Benefactor. Though assuredly her young heart could 
not be stained with grievous sin, she constantly remembered 
that before the strict justice of God, the most faithful souls 
are but unprofitable servants, and that we can never impose 
on ourselves sufficient penance to merit salvation. 

Thence she began, in the humility of her soul, to amaai 
that superabundance of grace and merit which is, according 



OF HUNGARY. 141 

to the sweet and consoling doctrine of the Church, for the 
saints of God a brilliant glory, and for the faithful a rich 
treasure and a sure refuge. 

She songht at first to conquer her flesh by vigils. W 
have seen with what persevering fidelity she mortified herself 
in thi* way, and with what mingled solicitude and indulgence 
her pious husband saw her rise from his side to approach God 
in prayer. 

But frequently, notwithstanding her good -mil, Elizabeth 
during her devotions would not be able to resist sleep, and 
would slumber, kneeling on the carpet by the bed-side, her 
hand clasped in that of her husband ; her women finding her 
thus in the morning, used to reproach her, and ask, would 
it not be as well for her to sleep in her bed as by its side. 
" No," she would say, " if I cannot always pray, I can at 
least mortify myself by remaining away from my beloved 
husband ; I wish that my flesh should be conquered it can 
but gain by doing what the soul wishes." When her husband 
was absent, she prayed all night to Jesus, the spouse of her 
soul. But this was not the only self-inflicted penance endured 
by this young and religious princess. 

Under her finest clothes she always wore a cilice (hair- 
shirt) next her skin. Every Friday, in commemoration of 
the painful passion of our Lord, and every day during Lent, 
she caused the discipline to be administered to her severely 
and in secret, " In order," says a historian, " to render to 
inr Saviour, who was cruelly scourged, some recompensed 
Slie would then return to her court with a joyous and serene 
Countenance, 

Later in life, she would arise from her couch, and going 
to the next chamber, wherein were her attendants, she would 
order them to give her some hard blows ; then, strengthened 
against her own weakness, she would return to her husband 
with redoubled gaiety and amiability. " Thus," saji a COB 
7 



|46 LIFE OF IT. ELIZABETH, 

temporary poem, "she sought to approach unto God, and 
to break the bonds of the prison of flesh, like a valiant 
warrior for the love of the Lord." 

Elizabeth resolved that these secret austerities should by 
no means influence her daily duties, or render her disposition 
in the least degree sad or gloomy. 

She cheerfully took part in the festivals and merry-makingf 
of worldlings, at which her rank in society assigned to her a 
prominent place ; and as a great saint, worthy in every regard 
to understand and judge her, has said of her, " She played 
and danced sometimes, and was present at assemblies of 
recreation, without prejudice to her devotion, which was so 
deeply rooted in her soul, that, like the rocks about the lake 
Rietta, which grew greater by the beating of the waves, her 
devotion increased amongst the pomps and vanities to which 
her condition exposed her." 

She detested all kinds of exaggeration in works of piety 
all affectation of grief and said of those who, in praying, 
wore a sad or severe aspect, " They seem as if they wished 
to frighten our good God ; can they not say to Him all they 
please with cheerful hearts ?" 

Elizabeth never neglected any means of offering to God 
her tribute of humility and obedience. She had for confessor 
Master Conrad of Marburg, of whom we shall hereafter speak, 
and to whom her husband permitted her to make a vow of 
obedience in all that was not contrary to his marital au 
thority. 

Now, Conrad, who had opposed the imposition of certain 
taxes, which he looked upon as unjust and contrary to the 
will of God, and which were levied to defray the expenses ol 
the royal table, positively prohibited his penitent from nou- 
riflh .ng herself with any other food than that which she knew 
was furnished from her husband s private resources, and not 
wrung from the earnings of the poor vassals. The compaa- 



OF HUHCLART 14 

donate heart of the young duchess complied with this, and 
having adopted the resolution, she put it in practice with the 
most scrupulous fidelity, though she was sometimes embar 
rassed by it, as she still continued the custom of sitting by 
her husband at meals. 

This pious prince placed no obstacle in her way, and when 
her three maids of honour asked his permission to follow the 
example of their mistress, he immediately granted it, adding, 
" I would very willingly do the same, if it were not that I 
fear slander and scandal ; but, with God s help, I will soon 
change this kind of life." Full of a tender respect for the 
conscience of his wife, he warned her with gentle and affec 
tionate care when there were any dishes forbidden by her 
rule ; and, when he knew that all were the produce of hii 
estates, he pressed her to eat ; but Elizabeth would scarcely 
taste anything, always fearing lest it should be the fruit of 
the bitter sweat of the poor. She was most careful to hide 
from the world what she did for the love of God, and when 
seated at the Duke s table, surrounded by the nobles and 
officers of the court, she had recourse to a thousand little 
stratagems that they might not remark her prrvations. She 
would feign to watch the arrangement of the service with 
great care would frequently give orders to the attendant* 
would speak to each guest, and invite him to drink. Some 
times even she used to cut into little pieces the bread and 
meat placed before her, and scatter them on her plate, to give 
them the appearance of being left. 

Elizabeth often left the most abundantly served table hungry 
and thirsty. Her noble maidens, companions in her penance, 
relate, that sometimes for her entire subsistence she had but 
dry bread, or a few little cakes steeped in honey. 

One day at a great banquet she could reserve but five 
rery small birds, and almost all these she gave to her maiden*, 
for whose privations she had far greater compassion than for 



148 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

her own. Oil another occasion, as she went to join her ho* 
band at the Diet of the empire, she found nothing that he? 
conscience would permit her to eat but a piece of coaise black 
bread, so hard that she had to steep it in hot water ; but, as 
it was a fast day, she was contented with it, and travelled 
the same day, on that scanty oeal, sixteen leagues on horse 
back. 

A touching and graceful tradition tells us how it pleased 
God to render these privations less rude and repulsive to her. 
One day, during the absence of her husband, she dined alone, 
and her poor repast consisted of dry bread and water. The 
Duke having returned suddenly, came in, and, as a mark of 
affection, wished to drink from her glass ; he found in it, to 
his great surprise, a liquor which seemed to him to be the 
best wine he had ever tasted. He asked the cup-bearer 
whence it was brought, and the latter replied that he had 
only served the duchess with water. Louis said no more, 
but according to the expression, as pious as it is just, of the 
narrator, he had soul enough to recognise in this circumstance 
a mark of divine favour, and a reward of the sacrifices which 
his wife imposed on herself. 

Often, accompanied by her maidens, Elizabeth used to go 
through the offices of the castle, and inquire with the greatest 
care whence were brought the various provisions. When she 
found some permitted food, she would say to her ladies, "You 
will eat but of that," or when an allowed drink, such as wine 
from hi-r husband s vineyards, she would add, " Drink but of 
this. But when she found nothing to trouble her conscience, 
she would clap her hands with child-like joy, and Ty out, 
u To-day everything goes well ; we can both eat and drink." 

She was then about fifteen years old, and had preserved 
the simplicity of her mind and heart, whilst rendering herself 
worthy of heaven, by the practice of virtues far above ha 
ftge. 



OF HUNGAR7 I4t 

A life so rigorous, and so contrary to the custom of he* 
rank and her time, drew upon the duchess the disapprobation 
and public reproach of all the court ; even the Duke was not 
spared on account of his tolerance for what were accounted 
the extravagancies of his wife. Both, however, resigTHsi 
themselves patiently to these profane judgments, loving better 
to please God than men. 

The young princess soon found a new field for the exerciiw 
of her zeal and love of mortification. One great festival day, 
according to the custom of Wartbourg, she went down to the 
church at Eisenach, clothed in sumptuous robes, covered 
with precious stones, her head encircled with the ducal crown, 
and accompanied by the Duchess-mother, and a number of 
attendants. Elizabeth was accustomed every time she entered 
a church to turn her eyes immediately towards the crucifix. 
This she now did, and seeing the image of her Saviour naked, 
crowned with thorns, the hands and feet pierced with nails, 
she felt penetrated with compunction, and entering into her 
self she said, " Behold thy God hanging naked on the cross, 
and thou, useless creature, art covered with gorgeous vesture ; 
., ..vo-u in , .u^i.cu wan thorns, and thou wearest a crown 
of gold." At the same moment, so full of pious compassion 
was her tender heart, that she fell fainting on the ground. 
Her alarmed attendants raised her, carried her to the church 
porch for air, and sprinkled her with holy water. She was 
soon restored to strength, but from that moment she formed a 
resolution to renounce all pomp of dress, except on those 
occasions when the duties of her rank, or the will of her 
husband, obliged her to it. In the depositions of her maids 
we fitd a detail of several articles which then formed part of 
the toilette of a princess. For instance, she renounced all 
dyed stuffs, bright coloured veils for the head, narrow and 
plaited sleeves which appear to have been great luxuries at 
that period, silken fillets for the hair, and lastly, long dressei 



150 LIFE Of ST. ELIZABETH, 

with trains. When necessity obliged her to be clothed in 
robes of state, she retained under the royal purple her simplt 
woollen garments and the cilice which she never left off. In 
public assemblies she always appeared with the dignity and 
modesty befitting a Christian princess. She recommended 
this plainness of attire to the noble ladies who visited her, 
and earnestly advised them to renounce in this particular 
the vanities of the world. She even sent them patterns of 
the dresses that sh thought would suit them. Her efforts 
were not fruitless. Several of these ladies, touched by the 
example of this yoang and newly-married woman, gave up all 
worldlv superflmties, and some amongst them even made vows 
of perpetual cnastity. 

Oh ! holy simplicity ! truth of the early ages, pure and 
child-like tenderness of the ancient days, will you never be 
restored ? Must we believe that you are dead and gone for 
ever ? But if it be true that ages are in the life of the 
world as years are in that of man, will you not, after so long 
and dark a winter, return, sweet spring-time of Faith, to 
restore youth to this earth, and its innocence to our he*rte f 



OF MUVGAKY 1*1 



CHAPTER VIIL 

OV THE ftRKAl CHARITY OF THE DEAR 81 ELIZABETH, AND HM 
LOVE FOR POVERTY. 

"Da pauper nn ut des tibi ; da pauptri ml cam nt aoclpias tot am panem ; <k 
tevtam acclpe ccelum ; da res perituras nt accipias aeternas mensuras. & Pttrut 
Chrysoloyus, apud Thesaur. Nov. de Sanctis. 

In te misericordia, In te pietate, 
In te magniflcenza, in te s aduna 
Quantunqne in creatura o di boirtate." 

Dante, Parad. c. 88. 

WHILST Elizabeth imposed on her senses so rigorous a 
restraint, and treated herself with so much severity, her 
heart overflowed with charity and mercy for her unhappy 
fellow-creatures. The tender pity with which from childhood 
she had been animated, took every day new developments 
which in a short time merited for her the sweet and glorious 
title under which all Christendom now venerates her -that of 
the Patroness of the Poor. 

Generosity to the poor, particularly that exercised by 
princes, was one of the most remarkable features of the age 
in which she lived ; but we perceive that in her, charity did 
Lot proceed from rank, still less from the desire of obtaining 
praise or purely human gratitude, but from an interior and 
heavenly inspiration. From her cradle, she could not bear 
the sight of a poor person without feeling her heart pierced 
with grief, and now that her husband had granted her full 
liberty in all that concerned the honour of God and the good 
of her neighbour, she unreservedly abandoned herself to her 
natural inclination to solace the suffering members of Christ. 
This was her ruling thought eacl hour and moment ; to thf 



152 LITE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

use of the poor she dedicated al that she retrenched flora 
the superfluities usually required by her sex and rank. Yet, 
notwithstanding the resources which the charity of her husband 
placed at her disposal, she gave away so quickly all that she 
possessed, that it often happened that she would despoil 
herself of her clothes in order to have the means of assjsting 
tte unfortunate. 

So touching a self-denial could not fail to affect the hearts 
and imaginations of the people ; we find in the ancient chro 
niclers an anecdote relating that, on a certain Thursday, the 
Duchess, richly robed and crowned, descended to the city ; 
on the way, she met a crowd of poor people, and to them 
she distributed all the money she had ; there was still one, 
who in a plaintive voice asked an alms. She sighed at no 
longer having wherewith to relieve him, but, that he might 
not be grieved, she took off one of her gloves, richly embroi 
dered and ornamented with precious stones, and gave it to 
him. A young knight who followed in her train, seeing 
this, rode after the poor man and bought back from him the 
Duchess s glove, which he then attached to his helmet as a 
precious relic, and as a pledge of Divine protection. And 
he was right ; for from that moment, in all the combats, at 
all the tournaments, he overthrew his adversaries, and never 
was vanquished himself. He afterwards joined in the Cru 
sades, and his exploits acquired for him great renown. At 
his return to his country, and on his death-bed, he de glared 
that he attributed all his glory and all his success to the 
happiness he had of wearing during his life a souvenir of the 
dear Saint Elizabeth. 

But it was not alone by presents or with money that the 
young princess testified her love for the poor of Christ ; 
it was still more by personal devotion, by those tender and 
patient cares which are, assuredly, in the sight both of God 
End of the sufferers, the most holy and most precious alma. 



yr HUNGARY. 15* 

She applied herself to those duties with simplicity and unfad 
ing gaiety of manner When the sick sought her aid, after 
relieving their wants, she would inquire where they lived, in 
order that she might visit them 

And then, no distance, no roughness of road, could keep 
her from them. She knew that nothing strengthens feelings 
of charity more than to penetrate into all that is positive and 
material in human misery. She sought out the huts most 
distant from her castle, which were often repulsive, through 
filth and bad air, yet she entered these haunts of poverty in 
a manner at once full of devotion and familiarity. She car 
ried herself what she thought would be necessary for their 
miserable inhabitants. She consoled them, far less by her 
generous gifts than by her sweet and affectionate words. 
When she found them in debt and unable to pay, she engaged 
to discharge their obligations from her privy purse. 

Poor women in childbed were particularly the objects of 
her compassion. Whenever she could, she used to go sit bj 
their bedsides to assist and encourage them. She used to 
take their new-born children in her arms with a mother^ 
love, and cover them with clothes made by herself ; she often 
held them at the baptismal font, in order that this spiritual 
maternity might afford her stronger motives for loving and 
taking care of them during their whole lives. 

When one of her poor died, she used to come to watch by 
the body, to cover it with her own hands, and often with th 
sheets from the royal bed ; she would also assist at tie funeral 
service, and the people often saw with admiration this royal 
aly following with humility and recollection the poor coffir 
of the meanest of her subjects. 

Recurned to her home, she employed her leisure Lours, 

-ot in the luxurious enjoyments of the rich, but, like the 

valiant woman of Scripture, in laborious and useful works, 

She spun wool with her maids of honour, and afterwardi 

7* 



154 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

made it into garments for the poor, or for the religious 
dicants who at that period were established in her dominions. 
She often took for her repasts vegetables, and these design 
edly badly cooked, and without salt or other seasoning, in 
order that she might know by experience how the poor were 
fed ; and such meals she took most joyfully. 

We have seen how she frequently suffered hunger, rather 
than use food which she thought the fruit of the taxes *ja- 
justly required from her poor subjects. But she did not 
confine to these purely personal scruples her zeal for justice 
and her earnest solicitude for the unfortunate. When, in 
the exercise of the domestic cares of her household, she dis 
covered any traces of violence or wrong committed against 
poor country people, she would go and denounce it to her 
husband, and would endeavour to recompense the aggrieved 
party as far as her means would permit. 

As if these touching virtues were the undoubted heritage 
of the house of Hungary, we find them two centuries later 
in the person of a young and illustrious sovereign daughter, 
AS was our Elizabeth, of a king of Hungary Hedwige, 
elected at the age of thirteen years to the throne of Poland, 
who by her marriage with Jagellon effected the union of Po 
land and Lithuania, and who died at the age of twenty-eight 
years in the odour of sanctity, renowned as the most beauti 
ful and most courageous princess of her time. 

Worthy of being of the race of Elizabeth by the great 
kindness of her heart, Hedwige has left in the annals of her 
country one of the most exquisite sentences ever uttered by 
Christian lips. Some poor peasants came weeping to her t 
tompiain that the king s servants had taken their cattle. 
She went immediately to her husband and obtained their res, 
toration, after which she said, "Their cattle indeed are 
returned to them, but who can restore to them their tears." 

Elizabeth loved to carry secretly to the poor, not alone 



OF HUNGARY. 155 

money, but provisions and other matters which she destined for 
them She went thus laden, by the winding aid rugged paths 
that led from the castle to the city, and to the cabins of the 
neighbouring valleys. 

One day, when accompanied by one of her favourite maid 
ens, as she descended by a rude little path (still pointed out) 
and carried under her mantle bread, meat, eggs, and other 
food to distribute to the poor, she suddenly encountered her 
husband, who was returning from hunting. Astonished to see 
her thus toiling on under the weight of her burthen, he said to 
her, u Let us see what you carry" and at the same time drew 
open the mantle which she held closely clasped to her bosom ; 
but beneath it were only red and white roses, the most beauti 
ful he had ever seen and this astonished him, as it was no 
longer the season of flowers. Seeing that Elizabeth was 
troubled, he sought to console he* by his caresses, but he 
ceased suddenly, on seeing over h r head a luminous appear 
ance in the form of a crucifix. He then desired her to continue 
her route without being disturbed by him, and he returned to 
Wartburg, meditating with recollection on what God did for 
her, and carrying with him one of those wonderful roses, which 
he preserved all his life. At the spot where this meeting took 
place, he erected a pillar, surmounted by a cross, to consecrate 
for ever the remembrance of that which he had seen hovering 
over the head of his wife. 

Amongst the unfortunate who particularly attracted her 
compassion, those who occupied the chief place in her heart 
were the lepers ; the mysterious and special character of their 
malady rendered them, throughout the middle ages, objects (A 
a solicitude and affection mingled with fear. 

Elizabeth, like miny holy and illustrious sovereigns of her 
time, vanquished the latter sentiment, and despised all the pre 
cautions which separated outwardly from Christian society 



15$ LIFE OF 8T. 1LIZABBTH, 

those beings marked by the hand of God. "Wherever they 
were to be found, she went to them, as if no contagion were tc 
be dreaded ; she sat by them, spoke to them tender ana con 
soling words, exhorted them to patience and confidence in God, 
and never left them until she had distributed abundant alms, 
* You ought," she would say, " cheerfully to suffer this martyr 
dom ; it should cause you neither grief nor anger. As for me, 
I believe that if you endure patiently this hell which God 
sends you in this world, you shall be saved from the pains ol 
the other, and that is a great gain." Having one day met one 
of those unfortunates, who suffered besides from a malady in 
the head, and whose appearance was repulsive in the highest 
degree, she led him to a retired part of the orchard, cut off his 
matted hair, laid his head on her knees, and washed ana 
cleansed it; her maids of honour having surprised her at this 
strange occupation, she smiled, but said nothing. 

One Holy Thursday she assembled a great number of lepers, 
washed their hands and feet, and, kneeling humbly before 
them, kissed their sores and ulcers. 

Another time, the Landgrave having gone to spend some 
lays at his castle of Naumburg, which was situated in the 
lentre of his southern possessions, and near Saxony, Eliza 
beth remained at Wartburg and employed herself during her 
husband s absence in redoubling her zeal and care for the 
sick and poor, in washing and clothing them with garments, 
the work of her own hands, notwithstanding the discontent 
testified by the Duchess-mother, Sophia, who had remained 
with her son since the death of her husband. But the 
young Duchess did not heed the complaints of her mother-in 
law. 

Amongst the sick there was a poor little leper named 
Helias, whose condition was so deplorable that no one would 
take charjp rf him. Elizabeth, seeing him thus abandoned 



Or HUNGARY. 

by all, felt herself bound to do more for him than for any 
other ; she took and bathed him herself, anointed him with a 
healing balm, and then laid him in the bed, even that which 
she shared with her royal husband. Now, it happened that 
the Duke returned to the castle whilst Elizabeth was thna 
occupied. His mother ran out immediately to meet him, and 
when he alighted she said, " Come with me, dear son, and I 
will show thee a pretty doing of thy Elizabeth " " What 
does this mean?" said the Duke. " Only come," said she, 
"and thou wilt see one she loves much better than thee." 
Then taking him by the hand, she led him to his chamber 
and to his bed, and said to him, " Now look, dear son, thy 
wife puts lepers in thy bed, without my being able to pre 
vent her. She wishes to give thee the leprosy; thou seest 
it thyself." On hearing these words, the Duke could not 
repress a certain degree of irritation, and he quickly raised 
the coverings of his bed ; but at the same moment, accord 
ing to the beautiful expression of the historian, " The Most 
High unsealed the eyes of his soul, and in place of the leper 
he saw the figure of Jesus Christ crucified extended on his 
bed." At this sight he remained motionless, as did his 
mother, and began to shed abundant tears without being 
able at first to utter a word. Then turning round, he saw 
his wife, who had gently followed in order to calm his wrath 
against the leper. " Elizabeth," said he, " my dear good 
sister, I pray thee often to give my bed to such guests. I 
shall always thank thee for this, and be not hindered by any 
one in the exercise of thy virtues." Then he knelt, and 
prayed thus to God: "Lord, have mercy OL me, a poor 
sinner ; I am not worthy to see all these wonders I ac 
knowledge thy almighty power : aid me, I pray thee, to 
become a man according to thy own heart, and according t* 
thy Divine will." Elizabeth profited of the profound impre> 
ior vhich this scene made upon me Duke, to obtain hit per 



i58 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

mission to erect an almshouse midway up the rocky height 
crowned by the castle of Wartburg, on the site since occu 
pied by a convent of Franciscans. She therein maintained, 
from that time, twenty-eight sick or infirm poor persons, 
chosen from amongst those who were too feeble to ascend to 
the castle. Every day she went to visit them, and carried 
with her meat and drink for their use. Living thus with the 
poor and for them, it is not astonishing that God should 
have inspired her with that holy love of poverty which has 
rendered the souls richest in His grace illustrious. Whilst 
from amongst the people, Francis of Assisium opened to the 
world as a new sanctuary, whereto rushed all those who 
were eager for self-denial and sacrifice, God raised in the 
midst of the chivalry of Germany this daughter of a king, 
who, at the age of fifteen years, already felt her heart burn 
with the love of evangelical poverty, and who confounded 
the pride and pomp of her peers by a sovereign contempt of 
earthly grandeur. Her place seemed already marked out in 
the veneration of the Church and the love of the people, by 
the side of the Seraph of Assisium. 

In the flower of her youth and beauty, she had weaned 
her soul from all thoughts of earthly glory. " She/ says an 
old writer, "who was in sovereign glory, sought the state of 
poverty, that the world might have no part in her, and that 
she might be poor as Jesus Christ had been." 

She could not avoid associating her beloved husband in 
*11 her secret and holy reveries, and in the aspirations of he! 
^hild-like heart for a life at once more simple and more con 
formable to evangelical perfection. One night, as they lay in 
bed, but sleepless, she said to him " Sire, if it will not tire 
you, I will tell you of a thought I have had on the kind 
af life we should lead in order to serve God better." " Say 
it then, sweet friend/ replied her husband; "what is your 
thought on this subject T "i wish, then," said she, "that 



Or HUNGARY. 15t 

we had but one farm, which would afford us enough to liv 
on, and about two hundred sheep ; then you could cultivate 
the ground, lead the horses, and endure these labours for 
God s sake ; and I would take care of the sheep and shear 
them." The Landgrave smiled at the simplicity of his wife, 
and replied, "Well, dear sister, if we had so much nd 
and so many sheep, I think we would be no longer poor, and 
many people would find us still too rich." 

At other times, when with her maidens, who were all her 
friends, she would speak of the joys of poverty ; and often, 
in her familiar discourses with them, the young princess, as 
much a child in heart as in age, sought to realise, at least 
in imagination, her pious desires. Removing her royal 
robes, she would clothe herself in a poor mantle of a grey 
colour, such as was worn by the wretched and mean ; she 
would cover her head with a torn veil, and, walking before 
her companions, would feign to beg her bread ; and, as if 
warned by celestial inspiration of the fate for which God 
reserved her, she once spoke to them these prophetic words : 
" Thus will I walk when I shall be poor and in misery for 
the love of my God." 

" my God," says St. Francis de Sales, when relating 
this anecdote to his dear Philothea, " how poor was this prin 
cess in her riches, and how rich in her poverty !" 

We freely confess, that in the life of this Saint, which w 
have studied with so much love, nothing appears to us 
more touching, more worthy of admiration nay, almost 
even of envy, than this child-like simplicity, which may po- 
ibly bring to some lips the smile of disdain. To our eyes, 
this free yielding to all impressions, these so frequent smilei 
and tears, the girlish joys and sorrows, these innocent sporti 
df her whose soul rested in the bosom of her heavenly 
Father all these, mingled with such painful sacrifices, such 
jrave thoughts, so fervent a piety, so active, devoted, and 



1<M) LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

ardent a charity, offer the sweetest and most powerful charm. 
It is, beyond all, in times like our own, when flowen 
wither and no fruits ripen when simplicity is dead in all 
hearts, in private life as well as in public society, that a 
Christian cannot study without emotion this development 
manifested in the soul of Elizabeth, whose short life was but 
a lengthened and heavenly infancy a perpetual obedience to 
the words spoken by our Saviour, when, taking a little child 
and setting him in the midst of his disciples, he said to them : 
" Amen, I say unto you, if you become not like unto liitk 
children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." 



4IF HUNGARY. If* 



CHAPTER IX. 

V THl GREAT DEVOTION AND HUMILITY OF THE DEAR ST. LIZABIT* 

MiUit radicem deonom et faciet fructum saraum. 4 Reg. xlx. Ml 

Abfter se fit doa si tide I est range, 

A Dieu servir veut son cur mettre, 

Car si comma tesmoigne la lettre 

Vertus plant* dedane sons cuer 

Tous vices de sa vie oeta 

De Dieu Best (sait) : qui tel host* a 

Ne peut amelr Dieu par amors. 

Escole fu de bones more 

Essample fu de penitence 

Et droit miraouere d innocence. 

Rwtebeuf MS. 

IT was impossible that Elizabeth could so devote herself 
to the love and service of her neighbour, if the charity of God 
did not abound in and govern her heart. To love her breth 
ren, as much and even more than herself, it was necessary 
that she should love God above all things. Thus we see her 
each day making new progress in this sublime science, each 
day humility, the earliest companion of her childhood, in 
creased in her soul and filled that holy dwelling in a wonder 
ful manner, according to the expression of one of her poetical 
biographers. Each day, aided by this divine virtue, she 
learned better how to conquer all the earthly feelings that 
remained in her heart, so that notwithstanding her extreme 
youth, the duties of her state of life, and the distractions inci 
dent to her position in society, she attained a degree of repose 
and confidence in God, which the greatest saints might envy. 

To acquire and maintain this peace, she had no more effi 
cacious and constant help than the faithful observance of the 



162 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

commandments of the Church, and the frequent reception of 
the sacraments which that Mother, inexhaustible in benefits, 
offers to all her children. She often approached the Table of 
the Lord and received the blessed Eucharist always with the 
greatest reverence and love. Elizabeth understood with al 
the intelligence of faith, the ineffable value of these sacred 
mysteries. She assisted at the dirine Office with a reBp**c< 
mingled with fear and love, and with unequalled fervour. 
Scarcely did she hear the bell toll for Office, when she, as it 
were, fled to the Church, and always endeavoured to arrive 
there before her attendants ; on her entrance she made sev 
eral genuflexions unperceived, accompanied with earnest pray 
ers, as it were secret communions with her heavenly Fa 
ther. 

During Mass she testified by exterior humility the tender 
gratitude which she felt towards the innocent and Supreme 
Victim whose sacrifice was thus daily renewed. Obliged 
from regard for her husband s presence, and not to scandalize 
the faithful, to clothe herself in the costume suitable to her 
rank, she manifested the humility of her heart by the dignified 
modesty of her deportment. Before the Altar she laid aside 
the ornaments which she could put off and replace without 
trouble, such as her ducal crown, her collar, bracelets, rings 
and gloves; this she always did at the reading of the Gospel, 
and at the Consecration or Communion. 

Now it happened one day tha,t during the Canon of the 
Mass, while she prayed fervently, with her hands folded and 
modestly hidden under her mantle, and her veil raised in 
order that she might contemplate the sacred host, a celestial 
light beamed around her. The celebrating priest, a man re 
nowned for a holy life, saw at the moment of the Consecra 
tion the face of the Duchess refulgent with so great a splen 
dour that he was dazzled by it, and until the Communion he 
found himself surrounded by a light radiating from her as froM 



OF HUNGARY. 168 

the sun. Filled with surprise, he returned thanks to God, for 
having thus manifested, by a visible and wonderful light, the 
interior brilliancy of that holy soul, and he related afterwards 
what he had seen. 

Elizabeth most carefully observed the precepts of the 
Church in regard to its festivals. She sanctified the Lent by 
prayers and abundant alms, and by fasting, though from that 
she was dispensed on account of her age. But no words 
could express the fervour, the love, the pious veneration with 
which she celebrated the holy days, whereon the Church by 
her touching and expressive ceremonies reminds the faithful 
of the sad but ineffable mysteries of our redemption. 

On Holy Thursday, in imitation of the King of kings, who 
on that day arose from table and laid aside his garments, this 
daughter of the kings of Hungary took off all that could 
remind her of worldly pomp, clothed herself in the ordinary 
dress of poor mendicants, and went to visit the Churches, 
wearing a kind of shoes which seem to have been then worn 
but by the poorest class. On this day she also washed the 
feet of twelve poor persons, sometimes lepers, and gave to 
each twelve pieces of money, a cloth garment, and a loaf of 
white bread. She passed all the night from Holy Thursday 
to Good Friday in prayer and the contemplation of the Pas 
sion of our divine Lord. 

At the dawning of the morning of the Great Sacrifice she 
used to say to her attendants, " This should be a day of hu 
miliation to all I wish that none of you should pay me the 
least respect." 

Clad in the same dress as on the preceding day, and con 
forming in all things to the customs of the poor women of the 
country, she used to carry under her mantle some parcels of 
coaree linen, a little incense, and some small wax tapers, then 
he went barefooted in the midst of the crowd to all the 
O irches, and kneeling before each Altar, she laid thereon a 



164 LITE OF IT. ELIZABETH, 

packet of linen, some incense and a taper, after which she 
prostrated herself humbly and went on to the next. Whea 
she had thus made the tour of the Church she left it, and at 
its porch she distributed large alms to the poor, but as they 
did not recognise her, they crushed her pitilessly as they 
would any common woman. 

Some persons at the Court reproved her for making on 
these solemn occasions such trifling offerings to the Churches ; 
they said that she who was a sovereign Princess should set 
an example of munificence, but the heavenly instinct of her 
heart told her that on such a day the practice of humility was 
one of the best means of its sanctification. She was obliged 
to do violence to the excessive generosity of her nature, in 
order to assimilate herself more to the little ones and the 
poor, and to present to God the sacrifice of a contrite and 
humble heart, which He has declared to be the most accepta 
ble of all offerings. 

On the Rogation days, which were at this time celebrated 
with worldly rejoicings and great luxury in dress, the young 
Duchess always joined the procession clad in coarse garments 
and barefooted. During the sermons, she took her place 
amongst the poorest mendicants, and thus would she follow 
in all humility across the fields the relics of the Saints and 
the Cross of our Saviour ; for, says one of her contemporaries, 
" All her glory was in the Cross and passion of Christ ; the 
world was crucified to her and she to the world." 

God, who has called himself a jealous God, did not suffer 
that the heart of His servant should be engrossed by any 
thought or affection purely human, however legitimate it 
might have been. 

A remarkable trait, related by the chaplain Berchtold, 
and repeated by all the historians, shows how far Elizabeth 
and her husband carried these holy and tender scruples, which 
are, as it were, the perfumes exhaled from the souls of tat 



OF HUNGARY. 160 

elect. In the middle ages it was looked upon as a verj 
important business to have one s self blooded. When the 
operation was attended with success, solemn thanksgiving 
was returned to God, and all the friends were invited to 
rejoice. Princes and nobles made it a pretext for giving 
great banquets. For married persons, and those betrothed, 
there was a peculiar custom then existing. The young ma* 
went to her he loved to ask her to pray that all might be 
well with him ; the betrothed maiden kissed and blessed the 
wound. On one occasion Louis and Elizabeth submitted to 
this operation at the same time, and, to celebrate it, the Duke 
invited all the neighbouring nobility to share in the festivals, 
which were continued for several days. On one of those days, 
as they all assisted at a solemn Mass in the church of St. 
George at Eisenach, the Duchess, forgetting the sanctity of 
the sacrifice, fixed her eyes and her thoughts on her beloved 
husband who was near her, and allowed herself to consider 
unreservedly and with admiration the beauty and amiability 
which rendered him so dear to all. 

But, coming to herself at the moment of the consecration, 
the divine Spouse of her soul manifested to her how these 
human considerations had offended Him ; for when the priest 
elevated the sacred Host for the people s adoration, she 
thought she saw in His hands our Saviour crucified, with His 
wounds bleeding. Alarmed by this vision, she recognised her 
fault, and falling on her face to the earth, bathed in tears 
before the altar, she asked pardon of God. 

Mass concluded, the Landgrave, doubtless accustomed to 
see her wrapt in meditation, went out with all his court, and 
nhe remained alone and thus prostrate until dinner-hour. 

Meanwhile the repast prepared for the numerous guests 
was ready, and none of the attendants daring to disturb the 
Duchess at prayer, the Duke himself went to call her, and 
aid with great gentleness, " Dear sister, why comest thou not 



166 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

to table, and why dost thou make us await thee for BO long 
a time ?" On hearing his voice, she lifted up her head, and 
looked at him without speaking, and he, perceiving her eyes 
bloodshot from the abundance and violence of her teaid, was 
troubled, and said, " Dear sister, why hast thou wepl do long 
ana so bitterly?" He knelt by her side, and af^r having 
heard her story, he began to weep and pray with ir^r. Having 
continued thus for some time he arose, and say. to Elizabeth, 
" Let us put our trust in God ; I will aid thro to do penance, 
and to become better than thou art." But as he saw that 
she was too sad to return to the court, he arose and went 
to his guests, whilst the Duchess continued to lament her 
fault. 

This young and pious princess had then received from 
heaven the Gift of Tears, of those sweet and refreshing 
tears, which reveal to the soul the presence of an inexhaus 
tible treasure of grace and consolation from On High. 

The companions of her life relate, that however abundant 
her tears might be, they never altered the beauty or serenity 
of her countenance. This gift was not peculiarly hers ; it 
was a common one during her time ; all the Catholic people 
of those happy ages possessed it together with their ardent 
and simple faith. Those people knew its value ; those fervent 
generations, who honoured with so touching a. reverence the 
divine tears that fell from the eyes of Jesus at the tomb of 
his friend, appreciated its virtue. 

There were tears at the root of all the poetry and all the 
piety of the men of the middle ages. 

This " Blood of the sow/," as St. Augustine says, thia 
" Water of the heart," as the old romance writers term it, 
flowed in streams from their eyes ; it was in some manner, 
for these simple and pious souls, a form of prayer an homage 
t once confiding and expressive a tender and silent offering, 
which united them to all the sufferings and all the merits of 



Or HUNGARY. 

Jesus Christ, and of the saints, and to the worship of the 
Church. 

Lake the blessed Dominick of Paradise, with their tean 
they washed away the stains of their souls witn them, like 
St. Odile, they atoned for the sins of those they had loved in 
this world ; collected by angels, who carried them to the feet 
of the Father of Mercies, they were looked upon by Him as 
precious fruits of penance and holy love. And it was not 
only weak women and ignorant people who thus experienced 
the sweetness and power of tears ; it is sufficient to open at 
random any history of those times, and we will find almost 
on every page how pious kings, princes, knights, entire armies 
wept spontaneously and sincerely. All these iron-souled men, 
all these invincible warriors, bore in their breasts hearts 
tender and simple as those of children. They had not yet 
learned to destroy the natural innocence of their feelings, or 
to blush for them. They had not then dried up or frozen 
within them the source of pure and strong emotions, of that 
divine dew which renders life fruitful and beautiful. 

Who remembers not the sighs and immortal tears of 
Godfrey and the first Crusaders, at the sight of the tomb of 
Christ, which they had gained after such wonderful exploits 
and such hard struggles. Later still, Richard Co3ur de Lion 
wept bitterly at the sight of Jerusalem when he could not 
save it ; and the confessor of St. Louis relates that, " When 
they said in the Litany these words, Lord God, deign to 
grant unto us a fountain of tears/ the holy king used to say 
devoutly, Lord God, I dare not beg from thee a fountain 
of tears, but for me some little drops to moisten the dryness 
of my heart will suffice/ And he related secretly to his 
confessor that many times the Lord had given him tears at 
prayer, which, when he felt them flowing gently down his face 
and entering his mouth, seemed to him most savoury and 
iweet, not only to the heart but even to the lips." 



168 LIFE QW ST. KLIZAB1TH, 



CHAPTER X. 

OW THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH WAS KNOWN AND CHERISHED BT TM 
GLORIOUS ST. FRANCIS, AND HOW SHE HAD FOR SPIRITUAL DIBBOTOB 
MASTEIt CONRAD OF MARBUBG. 

De paupertatis horreo, 
Banctus Franciscus satlat. 
Turbam Christ! famelicam: 
In via ne deflciat 
Iter pandit ad gloriam, 
Et vltse viam ampliat. 
Pro paupertatis copia 
Regnat dives in patria, 
Eeges sibi substituons, 
Quos hie ditat iropia. 

Anthem from Franciscan Breviary. 

IT seems to us, that what we have already related of Eliz 
abeth suffices to show the resemblance which existed between 
her soul and that of the Glorious Poor One of Christ who 
then illuminated Italy with the rays of his miraculous power. 
God willed not that this interior alliance should remain sterile 
or unknown, but, on the contrary, that it should be fruitful in 
consolation for His faithful servant, and in blessings for all 
Germany. 

A remarkable analogy existed already between their ex 
terior lives. The year 1207, that in which Elizabeth was 
born in the midst of sovereign greatness, at Presburg, saw St. 
Francis regenerated in God ; at the time that she, daughter 
of a powerful king and grand-daughter of Charlemagne, came 
into the world surrounded by all the splendour of royalty, he, 
the son of the merchant Bernardone, renounced his patrimony, 
his family, his honour, for the love of God; beaten and impris 
oned by his father, delivered from his bonds by Ids mother^ 



OF HUNGARY. 169 

lore, covered with mud, and pursued by the insulting shouts 
of his fellow-citizens, he took with him no second garment, 
but went alone and poor to the conquest of the world. 

Elizabeth needed not this second birth ; from her cradle 
she was prepared for heaven, and her innocent heart offered t 
free and fertile soil for the seeds of strength and life, which the 
hand of Francis was about to shed on the Christian world, 
and of which God reserved to her the privilege of being one 
of the first and most illustrious recipients. 

It is not our province to relate here the wonderful history 
of the triumphs of St. Francis in Italy, dating from the time 
at which he commenced his preaching. We must confine our 
selves to the facts which connect him directly with the destiny 
of Elizabeth. 

After some years the commotion excited by the mission of 
this new Apostle in dormant and tepid souls became so gen 
eral, the change which it operated in all the social and private 
relations of life so violent, that it became necessary to adopt 
means to regulate and modify the power that God permitted 
him to exercise. 

In every town he encountered a crowd of husbands who 
wished to abandon their wives and children, and to consecrate 
themselves with him to poverty and the preaching of the Gos 
pel ; women there were also ready to renounce their duties as 
wives and mothers in order to enter the monasteries wherein 
Clare, his rival and spiritual sister, presided over the austeri 
ties of the new-founded order, "The poor Clares." 

Reduced thus to the painful necessity, either of extinguish 
ing the germs of sanctity which thus developed themselves in 
all hearts, or of encouraging a dangerous revolution against the 
Lies consecrated by God himself, he adopted a middle course, 
which heaven blessed, as well as his otter works; he promised 
to this crowd, so eager to obey him, a special rule of life which 
would associate with his religious, by a community of prayer^ 
9 



170 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

good works and penance, Christians engaged in domestic life, 
without severing any of the ties rendered; sacred by God. 
At first he gave this rule by word of mouth ~JQ several of the 
faithful of both sexes, who hastened to put it in practice, 
particularly in Florence and the neighbouring cities Each 
day these happy souls felicitated themselves on being able, 
even out of the monasteries, to renounce the dangerous joys 
and luxuries of the world. 

Francis, seeing the fervour and ever increasing numbers of 
the members of this association, gave them the name of " The 
penitents of the third order? as forming the third branch of 
his family, wherein were before reckoned the monks of whom 
he was the direct head, and the nuns of St. Clare, and in 
1221 he wrote and published the rule which he had composed 
for them. According to its principal directions it was neces 
sary that if a married woman wished for admission, the consent 
both of husband and wife should be obtained. It was neces 
sary that every wrong should be atoned for, and that a public 
reconciliation with all one s enemies should take place. The 
members, though not quitting either their families or their so 
cial position, were to wear garments of a grey or dark colour, 
and were not to carry weapons except in defence of their 
country or the Church. They were not to assist at feasts, 
dances, or profane rejoicings. Besides the fasts and absti 
nences prescribed by the Church, they were not to eat meat 
on Mondays or Wednesdays, and to fast from St. Martin s 
day until Christmas, as well as on all the Wednesdays and 
Fridays of the year. They were to hear Mass every day, to 
communicate on the three great feasts of Easter, Pentecost, 
and Christmas, to recite each evening some special prayers, to 
visit the brothers and sisters of the order in sickness, and to 
assist at their obsequies. This rule, as we see, established 
but a kind of pious association or confraternity, but by no 
means a monastic order. It was later that the third order, 



OF HUNGARY. 171 

In adopting the custom of making solemn vows, took thii 
latter form, which it still preserves in the countries wherein 
it exists. 

The immense and rapid propagation of the order of St. 
Francis is one of the most remarkable and best authenticated 
facts of this epoch, and we may believe that the Church owed 
this progress to the association of the third order. 

An infinite number of persons joined each day. Italy, 
France and Germany were successively invaded by this new 
army. It should be recorded in the history of that century 
that the enemies of the Church soon perceived the powerful 
obstacles offered to them by an organization which embraced 
the faithful of all ages, ranks, and professions the warrior 
and the merchant, the priest and the lawyer, the prince and 
the peasant and in which the obligation of the severe and 
minute practice of the duties of religion necessarily drew more 
closely the bonds of affection and obedience which united them 
to the immortal Spouse of Christ, while its members were 
meanwhile left in the midst of the social and worldly life, 
there to develop the devotion and love newly enkindled in 
tneir hearts. 

Thus we read that the Emperor Frederick II. complained 
publicly that he found in this third order a barrier to all his 
projects against the Holy See ; and his Chancellor, Peter des 
Vignes, relates in his letters that all Christendom seemed to 
have entered it, and that, owing to this institution and its 
progress, the power of heaven even in this world became more 
formidable and advantageous than that of the earth. 

It was in 1221, the same year in which St. Francis pub 
lished the rule of the third order, that his religious were deci 
dedly established in Germany. Certainly they could nowhere 
find more sympathy and encouragement than that given them 
by the young and pious Duchess of Thuringia, for we find that 
he showed them signs of a zealous devotion and gave them 



172 tIFl OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

all the help in her power. She began by founding a convent 
of Franciscans near her church, in her capital city, Eisenach, 
,n the entrance of these friars into Germany. 

She afterwards appointed as her confessor brother Rodin- 
ger, one of the first Germans who embraced the Seraphic 
rule, a religious distinguished for his zeal, and who preserved 
towards her during all her life a sincere attachment. 

In these new relations, ah she heard of St. Francis In 
flamed her young heart with an ardent admiration for him, 
and an irresistible attraction to walk in the footsteps of thia 
exalted model of the virtues she loved best. She chose him 
thenceforth as her patron and spiritual father. 

Having heard from her new guests of the existence of the 
fhird Order in Italy, and in the other countries through 
which the family of St. Francis had already extended, she 
was struck by the advantages which affiliation to it would 
afford to a fervent Christian. She saw therein a special con 
secration given to the mortification and other pious practices 
which she had imposed on herself. She humbly begged permis 
sion of her husband to cause herself to be enrolled, and having 
obtained this without difficulty, she hastened to contract this 
first link with the saint, who was so soon destined to see her 
reigning by his side in heaven. 

She was the first in Germany who was associated to the 
Third Order. She observed its rule with scrupulous fidelity, 
and we may believe that the example of a sovereign placed 
go high by her rank and so renowned for her piety, had some 
influence in the rapid extension of this institution. 

Francis was soon informed of the precious conquest hii 
nissioners had made in the person of Elizabeth. He learned 
at the same time her affiliation to the order, her attainment 
to his person, and the touching virtues by which she -dified 
and biessei Thuringia. He was filled with gratitude and 
admiration and often spoke of her to the Cardinal Proteetf 



OF HUNGABT. 17S 

of his Order, Hugolino, nephew of Innocent III., and after 
wards Pope, under the name of Gregory IX. This latter, 
who was destined to watch over the safety of Elizabeth on 
earth and to consecrate her glory in heaven, already felt for 
her an affectionate interest, and this feeling mnst have been 
increased by the sympathy he understood this young princess 
entertained for the Apostle, of whom he was himself the 
principal supporter, as well as the intimate and tender friend. 
He also confirmed Francis in his kindly feelings towards her 
The exemplary humility of which this young princess was a 
model, her austere and fervent piety, her love of poverty, 
often formed the subject of their familiar discourses. One 
day, the Cardinal recommended the saint to send to the 
Duchess some pledge of his affectionate remembrance, and at 
the same time took from his shoulders the poor old mantle 
wherewith he was clad, and enjoined him to transmit it at 
once to his daughter Elizabeth, as a tribute due to the humil 
ity and voluntary poverty she professed, as well as a testimony 
of gratitude for the services she had already rendered to the 
Order. " I wish," said he, " that since she is full of your 
spirit, you should leave her the same inheritance as did Elijah 
to his disciple, Eliseus." The saint obeyed his friend, and 
sent to her whom he had so good reason to call his daughter 
this modest present, accompanied by a letter, in which he 
felicitated her on the graces she had received from God, and 
the good use she had made of them. 

It is easy to conceive the gratitude with which Elizabeth 
received this gift, so precious in her eyes ; she showed this 
oy the importance she attached to its possession. She clad 
herself with it whenever she begged from our Lord any 
special favour, and afterwards, when she renounced all pri 
vate property, she still found means to preserve this dear 
mantle of her poor Father till her death, at which time shi 
left it as her most precious treasure to a friend. It was af 



174 LIFE OF 8T. ELIZABETH, 

terwards preserved with the greatest care, as a relic doubly 
sanctified, by the Teutonic knights at Wesseinfels in the dio 
cese of Spires ; and brother Berchtold, a celebrated preacher 
of that age, related to the judges on the occasion of Eliza 
beth s canonization that he had often seen and torched ft 
ffith reiteration, as the glorious banner of that poverty which 
baj vanquished the world and its vanities in so many hearts. 
Under this banner Elizabeth acquired in her secret soul the 
strength requisite to accomplish at a later period the brilliant 
victories which God reserved for her over the world and her 
own heart. 

Henceforth, united by a filial and friendly feeling to the 
Seraph of Assisium, she made new progress on the narrow 
and thorny path that leads to eternal glory on that journey 
which she was to accomplish in so short a time. Nevertheless, 
when she had scarcely attained her seventeenth year, the 
good friar, Father Rodinger, her confessor, who had guided 
her steps in the rule of St. Francis, left her. 

It was necessary to think of replacing him, and the Duke, 
whom Elizabeth consulted in this matter, was grieved, be 
cause she seemed to him not to be sufficiently instructed in 
the Holy Scriptures, and in the knowledge of religion ; so he 
wrote to the Pope and begged from him a learned and en 
lightened guide for his wife. The Sovereign Pontiff replied 
to him that he knew no priest more pious or more learned 
than Master Conrad of Marburg, who had studied at Paris, 
and who then exercised the functions of Commissary Apostolic 
in Germany. In a word, Master Conrad enjoyed the highest 
esteem of the Clergy and of the faithful. 

He joined to vast learning, morals of exemplary purity, and 
a constant practice of evangelical poverty. He had renounced 
not only all the temporal wealth to which the nobility of his 
birth entitled him, but even all ecclesiastical dignity and bene 
fice , this caused him to be set down by many, as a member of 



OF HUNGARY. 175 

one of tut mendicant orders, though it appears more probable 
that he remained always a secular priest. 

His exterior was simple, modest, and even austere, his co- 
turue strictly clerical, his eloquence exercised a powerful influ 
ence over souls, and an immense crowd of priests and laymen 
followed wherever he turned his steps, to gather from his lip 
the bread of the divine Word. 

He everywhere inspired either love or fear, according as 
he addressed fervent Christians or people already infected 
with heresy. The great Innocent III. had confided to him 
the functions of Commissary of the Holy Office in Germany, 
with the special mission of combatting the threatened pro 
gress of the heresies of the Yaudois, of the Waldenses, or 
poor men of Lyons, and others such, which were then being 
introduced into the countries beyond the Rhine, and which 
promised to the Church a repetition of the miseries of the 
South of France. 

He was also charged to preach the Crusades, and more 
than once he roused the Germans from their tepidity, to 
take part in those sacred expeditions, with an ardour and 
constancy worthy of Innocent himself. The two successors of 
this Pontiff, Honorius III. and Gregory IX., continued him 
in these functions, and he rendered himself fully worthy of 
their confidence, by the persevering zeal and indomitable 
courage which marked his career. During the twenty years 
It lasted, he allowed no opposition, however powerful it 
might be, to obstruct him in the discharge of his duties. 
Neither princes nor bishops, no more than poor laymen, could 
escape his severe justice, when they seemed to him to deserve 
punishment, and we may attribute to this absolute authority 
the great popularity he acquired in the exercise of the fre 
quently painful functions of his office. He fell a victim, as 
we shall see hereafter, to his severity, doubtless carried to ex- 
eeis, since we find the violent death inflicted by those he pur 



176 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

iued, did not obtain for him the high honours granted by thf 
Holy See to St. Peter Parentice arid to St. Peter of Verona, 
both of whom died at this time, like him, martyrs to the faith. 

Conrad, who was doubtless known to Duke Louis, before 
ne was specially recommended to him by the Pope, soon ir 
pressed him witn so much confidence and veneration, that b. 
a solemn act, sealed t>y him and his brothers, he invested thii 
priest with the care of conferring all the ecclesiastical bene 
fices in which he exercised the rights of patronage or colla 
tion, on the persons most worthy of them. This was the best 
reply he could make to the exhortations which Conrad ad 
dressed to him on the scrupulous care he should use in the 
exercise of a right so important to the salvation of souls, 
"You commit a greater sin," said this zealous preacher to 
him, " when you Confide a church or an Altar (that is to say 
a living attached to the care of an Altar) to an ignorant or 
unworthy priest, than if you killed fifty or sixty men with 
your own hands." Louis then begged him to take charge of 
the spiritual direction of his wife, and Conrad consented, as 
much out of regard for the piety of the prince, as for the 
recommendation of the Sovereign pontiff. 

When the young Duchess, who was not yet, as we have 
already said, seventeen years old, heard that a man so re 
nowned for sanctity and learning was to have care of her, 
she was filled with humility and gratitude. She prepared 
herself for what she looked upon as a heavenly favour by 
fasts and new mortifications. She often said, " Poor sinful 
woman that I am, I am not worthy that this holy man should 
have care of me. My God, I thank you for your graces.* 
When she was informed of the approach of Conrad, she went 
out to meet him, and, throwing herself on her knees, said, 
" My spiritual Father, deign to receive me as your chJd iu 
God. I am unworthy of you, but I recommend myself ta 
your care through the love you bear to my brother." 



OF HUNGARY Ifi 

Conrad, seeing m this profound humility in a young and 
powerful princess a foreshadowing of the future glory of her 
eoul, could not help crying out, " 0, Lord Jesus, what wonders 
you work in the souls that belong to you I" and he several 
times evinced the joy this meeting afforded him. He became 
her confessor from this period, and devoted himself with his 
accustomed zeal to the culture of this precious plant, whoso 
growth he was charged to rear for heaven. Yery soon, the 
instinct of the spiritual life became so strongly developed in 
Elizabeth, and her aspirations towards the highest perfection 
became so frequent, that Conrad found her one day (and this 
he wrote himself to the Pope) in tears, and regretting that 
her parents had destined her to marry, and that thus she was 
not free, in passing through this mortal life, to preserve the 
flower of her virginity to offer it to God. One of her histo 
rians remarks, that, notwithstanding these feelings inspired 
by her fervour, her tender and ardent love for her husband 
was by no means lessened. And Louis, so far from arresting 
her progress in the life in which Conrad engaged her, gave it 
his best assistance He unhesitatingly permitted her to 
promise entire obedience to all her confessor prescribed, that 
would not interfere with the just authority and rights of mar 
riage. She added a vow of perpetual chastity, in case she 
should ever become a widow She made these two vows in 
the year 1225, in the presence of Master Conrad, in the church 
belonging to the nuns of St. Catherine at Eisenach, whom she 
loved particularly. She was at this time eighteen years old. 

Elizabeth observed the vow of obedience with the utmost 
fidelity, and with that unreserved humility that never left 
her ; and she cheerfully offered to God the sacrifices that 
cost her most. We have seen with what scrupulous exact 
ness she submitted to the restrictions imposed upon her by 
Master Conrad relative to the viands used at the ducal table, 
which, as we have before mentioned, he thought that the pool 
8* 



178 LIFE OP ST. ELIZAEETH, 

people were unjustly taxed to provide. Faithful to the in 
flexible rigour of his character, and looking upon her as he 
would upon any other Christian soul, he by no means sought 
to lighten the yoke she had voluntarily assumed ; and he 
thenceforth treated her with a severity which could but 
augment her merit in the sight of God. One day he sent 
for her to come and hear him preach, but, at the time, she 
was engaged with her sister-in-law, the Margravine of Misnia, 
who had come to pay her a visit, and she did not comply with 
his invitation. Annoyed at her disobedience, and for her 
having lost the indulgence of twenty days granted by the Pope 
to all who should assist at his sermons, he sent her word that 
thenceforth he would renounce all care of her soul. The next 
morning she went to him, and begged him most earnestly to 
recall this harsh resolation, and to pardon her fault. He re 
fused her at first, rudely ; at length she threw herself at his 
feet, and, after supplicating for a long time in this posture, she 
obtained his forgiveness ; but he imposed a severe penance on 
her and her maids of honour, to whom he imputed a share in 
her disobedience. 

There remains to ua a precious memorial of the spiritual 
lirection which Conrad exercised over his illustrious peni 
tent, in the twelve maxjms which he gave her, as the sum 
mary of her rule of life : these the chroniclers have carefully 
preserved. 

We transcribe them exactly, as being at once the faithful 
expression of tne motives that thenceforward governed her 
life, and as the predictions or foreshadowings of that glorious 
destiny which she so rapidly and completely fulfilled : 

1. Patiently endure contempt in the midst of voluntary 
poverty. 

2. Give humility the first place in your heart. 

3. Renounce human consolations and the pleasures of the 



OF HUNGARY. I7f 

4, Be merciful in all things to your neighbour. 

5, Have always the remembrance of God enshrined in youi 
OeaTt. 

0. Return thanks to the Lord for having by his Passion rer- 
deemed you from hell and from eternal death. 

7. Sin^e God has done so mach for you, beai the Cross pa 
licntly. 

8. ConstfC/ate yourself entirely, body and soul, to God. 

9. Recall Frequently to your mind that you are the work 
of the hands of <*od, and act, consequently, in such a manner 
as will ensure you/ being with Him for eternity. 

10. Pardon in year neighbour all that you desire that he 
should forgive in you ; do for him all that you would wish he 
should do for you. 

11. Often think oi the shortness of lift, and that the 
young die as well as the old ; ever, then, aspire to eternal 
life 

12. Incessantly bewail yo J sins, and pray God to forgiyt 
thorn. 



180 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH. 



CHAPTER XI. 

BOW THE LORD WAS PLEASED TO MANIFEST HIS GRACES 21 THE 
PERSON OF THE DEAR SAINT ELIZABETH. 

" Eooe sancti tui, DomJne, florent ante te sicut lilium." 

St. Auyustine, Medit, c. IT 

AFTER having thus traced the general features of the 
character of Elizabeth, during all the time of her union with 
Duke Louis, we must return to the early years of her married 
life, to relate some of the incidents which varied its uniform 
ity, and which were at the same time touching proofs of 
God s favour to His servant. 

In 1221, a short time after her nuptials, King Andrew, 
her father, who had assumed the Cross some years before, 
and who had just returned from a glorious expedition in 
Egypt, learned from a creditable source that his daughter 
had been married, and was now really Duchess of Thuringia. 
To be better assured of this fact, he ordered four great men 
of his court, who were going on a pilgrimage to Aix-la- 
Chapelle, to return by Tlmriugia, and to bring him exact 
accounts of his daughter of the kind of life she led, of the 
state of her court, and the country she inhabited and to 
invite her to come to Hungary, accompanied by her husband, 
to rejoice her father s old age, for he was most anxious to see 
them both. 

These nobles, after having accomplished their pilgrimage 
to Aix-la-Chapelle, took the route to Thuringia, instead of 
that of Franconia, and soon arrived at Wartburg. The 
Landgrave received them with kirdness, but he just reniem 



NOART 181 

bered that his wife had m robes fit to appear in before her 
guests, as she had already cut her wedding garments into 
forms more suited to her modesty, and that there was not 
time to order new ones. Full of uneasiness on this account, 
he went to her chamber, and said, " Ah, dear sister ! here 
have people just arrived from thy father s court ; I am sure 
they have come to learn what manner of life thou leadest 
with me, and to see if thou hast really the retinue of a 
Duchess. But how canst thou appear before them ? Thou 
art so continually occupied with thy poor ones, that thou 
forgettest thyself ; and thou never wishest to wear other 
clothes than those miserable enough to make us both ashamed. 
What dishonour to me, when these men will go and tell in 
Hungary that I let thee want for raiment, and that they 
found thee in so pitiable a state, and now I have no time left 
to order others more suitable to thy rank and mine." 

But she replied gently, " My dear lord and brother, let 
not this disquiet thee ; for I have earnestly resolved never to 
place my glory in my apparel. I can well excuse myself to 
these lords, and I will endeavour to treat them with such 
gaiety and affability, that I will please them as much as if I 
wore the richest vesture." Immediately she krelt and begged 
God to make her agreeable to her friends, and then having 
dressed herself as well as she could, she went to join her hus 
band and her father s ambassadors. 

Not only did she enchant them by the cordiality of her 
welcome, the sweetness and gentleness of her manners, by her 
beauty that shone with a surpassing brilliancy and freshness, 
bnt to the great surprise of the Duke and to the admiration 
of the strangers, she appeared clothed in magnificent silken 
robes and covered with a mantle of azure velvet embroidered 
with pearls of great price The Hungarians said that tie 
Queen of France could not be more gorgeously attired. After 
A sumptuous festival the Duke endeavoured to retain hit 



182 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

guests, bat they excused themselves saying that their com 
panion-pilgrims could not await them longer. He then went 
iown with them to the city, defrayed all the expenses incurred 
by their followers, and accompanied them a certain distance OB 
their journey. 

When he returned he went quickly to his wife, and asked 
her anxiously how came she to be thus clad. Elizabeth replied 
with a sweet and pious smile, " Behold what the Lord can do 
vhen He pleases." 

Several authors rrlate a different version of this miracle. 
Fliey say that when the virtues of Elizabeth were noised 
ibroad, a powerful lord (according to some it was the Emperor 
limself ) was travelling through the dominions of the Land 
grave. The latter went to meet him, and wished to receive 
him at his castle. But the stranger refused to accept the in- 
ritation, unless the D ike promised that he should see and 
speak to the Duchess. L vis cheerfully consented to this, and 
brought the noble visito 1 * *o "Vartburg. After a great ban 
quet the guest reminded his \ vt of his promise. Louis sent 
word to Elizabeth, who ro^s \ \*sr chamber praying, and re 
quested her to come and sp^k \ > them. But according to 
her custom she had given a ] \ be* clothes and jewels to the 
poor, so she sent secretly to he* husband and begged him 
humbly to excuse her for that time . she had not robes fit to 
appear in before his guests. Tke stronger still insisted ; Louig 
arose from table and went himself to ask her to come, and 
at the same time reproved her gent y for not having obeyed 
him a.; once. " My dear lord," answered she, " I will go and 
do as you will, for it would be wrong of me to contradict you 
in any thing ; I am yours, my lord, I have been given to you, 
I have always loyally obeyed you, and henceforth I will also 
do your will, for after God, you are my lord." 

Then when he went out, she fell on her knees and said, 
" Lord Jesus Christ, most clement and faithful Father, sweet 



OF HUNGARY. 188 

Consoler of the poor, and of all who are in trouble, friend and 
sure helper of all who trust in Thee, come to the assistance 
of thy poc r servant who has despoiled herself of all her rich 
raiment for the love of Thee." Immediately an angel ap 
peared and said to her, " noble spouse of the king of 
Paradise, behold what God sends thee from heaven saluting 
thee with tender affection ; thou shalt invest thyself with this 
mantle, and thou shalt place on thy head this crown as a sign 
of thy eternal glory." She thanked God, put on the crown 
and mantle, and went to the banquet hall. On seeing her so 
richly-robed and beautiful, all the guests were wonder-stricken, 
for her face shone like that of an angel. She sat in the 
midst of them and saluted them with cordiality and gaiety, 
then she spoke to them with words sweeter than honey, in such 
sort that they felt themselves more nourished by her dis 
course than by all the dainties of the feast. The stranger, 
enchanted at having seen this Elizabeth whom he had so long 
desired to know, took his leave ; the Duke accompanied him 
a part of the way, and then quickly returned to his wife and 
asked whence had she such royal attire. She could not con 
ceal it from him. "Truly," said he, "our God is indeed 
wonderful 1 There is pleasure in serving so bounteous a mas 
ter who come so faithfully to the assistance of his own ; for my 
part 1 wish to be, henceforth and for ever, more and more hii 
servant." 

In the following year (1222), according to the invitation 
brought in his name by the ambassadors of King Andrew, 
Duke Louis accompanied Elizabeth to Hungary. He con 
fided the care of his territories during his absence to the 
Counts de Muhlberg, de Gleichen, and others. He was at 
tended on the journey by Counts de Stolberg, de Schwartz- 
burg de Besenburg, de Beichlingen, and a crowd of nobles, 
amongst whom we remark Rodolphe de Varila, son of thi 
Lord Gaultier who bad brought Elizabeth from Hungary 



J84 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

eleven years before, and who succeeded his father, not only ia 
his office of great cup-bearer, but also in his loyal devotion t 
the Duchess. Elizabeth was attended by the wives of all the 
lords we have mentioned, and by a great number of noble 
dames and maidens. 

King Andrew received his daughter and his son-in-law with 
lively joy ; they remained a long time at his court, and assisted 
at many festivals and tournaments, in which the Thuringian 
knights distinguished themselves particularly. They were 
also present at King Andrew s marriage with Yokmde de 
Courtenay, daughter of the French emperor of Constantinople, 
whom he chose as his second wife. On this occasion the king 
loaded them with presents, and gave them precious stones of 
the greatest value. All the knights, and their ladies, and all 
the attendants, even to the lowest domestics, received rich 
gifts. He had also constructed a wagon of peculiar form, to 
contain all the gold and jewels his daughter was to bring back 
with her. 

Before the time of departure, the king gave a great hunt 
ing party, knowing that Duke Louis loved the chase. After 
this they separated, and the Duke brought back his wife, 
together with his suite, and his new riches, happily to 
Thuringia. 

Soon after this time, the Duke gave his sister, the beauti 
ful Agnes, companion of Elizabeth s childhood, in marriage to 
Henry, Duke of Austria, and whether for this occasion or to 
celebrate his own return to his dominions, he gave a> Wart- 
burg a great feast, to which he invited all the counts, and 
the leading nobles of his duchy, with their wives. As they 
were going to table, they remarked the absence of the 7 *uchess, 
who had not come, according to custom, to wash h^ hands 
with her guests. They all declared they would not commence 
until the Duchess came. 

Meanwhile Elizabeth, in coming from the churc> *o tht 



OF HUNGARY 189 

banquet hall, saw lying on the stair steps a poor man almost 
naked, and looking so sick and weak that she was astonished 
how he had strength enough to ascend from the city to the 
castle. 

When he perceived her, he begged some alms in honour of 
Christ. She answered that she had not at that time anything 
to give, but that she would send him some food from her 
table. But the poor man insisted loudly that she should give 
him something at once ; and the Duchess, conquered by her 
pity, took off the precious silken mantle with which she was 
covered, and threw it to the mendicant. The latter took it, 
rolled it up hastily, and disappeared immediately. Elizabeth, 
who had now but her robe without the mantle, (which was 
entirely contrary to the custom of the time) dared not enter 
the banquet-hall, but returned to her chamber, where she re 
commended herself to God But the seneschal, who had seen 
all that had passed, went at once to relate it to the Duke be 
fore all his guests. " Decide, my lord," said he, " if what our 
most dear lady the Duchess has just done is right. Whilst 
so many nobles are here awaiting her, she is occupied in 
clothing the poor, and has just given her mantle to a beggar- 
man." The good Landgrave said smilingly, " I will go and 
see what this means, and she shall come to us immediately. n 
Then, quitting his guests for a moment, he went to Elizabeth 
and said, " Beloved sister, wilt thou not come and dine with 
us ? we should have been long since at table if we had not 
awaited thee." " I am quite ready to do all thou wiliest, my 
beloved brother," answered she. "Then," said the Duke, 
" where is the mantle thou hadst when going to the Church 1* 
" I have given it away, my good brother," said Elizabeth, 
" but, if it is pleasing to thee, I will go as I am." At these 
words, one of her waiting women said to her, " Madam, 
when coming here I saw your mantle hanging in its place hi 
the wardrobe, I will go and br?*g it to you," and she imme- 



186 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

diately returned with tka same mantle the poor man h&* 
taken away. Elizabeth knelt a moment, and thanked God 
hastily, then she went to the feast \uth her husband. 
Whilst all the guests, u,nd particularly the Duke of Austria 
and his young wife, were enjoying themselves, the Landgrave 
Louis was serious and recollected, for he thought in his heart 
of the numerous graces that God had conferred on his dear 
Elizabeth. 

" Who can doubt," says one of her pious and simple histo 
rians, " but that it was an angel that brought back the man 
tle, and that it was Christ himself who took the form of a 
poor naked man to try his well beloved servant, as He did 
formerly the glorious St. Martin ? Thus did He adorn His 
dear flower, Elizabeth, ihis lily of purity and faith, more thai 
Solomon in all his glory." 

But God granted to this noble and pious couple a grace 
still sweeter and more dear to their hearts. The most pre 
cious blessings of the married life could not be refused by the 
Almighty to these spouses, who afforded to all the model of 
a Christian union. He gave to his faithful servant the gift of 
fruitfulness, as it were, to recompense even here below the 
purity of her soul and body. In 1223, Elizabeth being then 
sixteen years old, became a mother for the first time. At 
the approach of her lying-in she was removed to the Castle 
of Creutzburg, on the Werra, some leagues from Eisenach, 
where she was far more tranquil than at Wartburg, which 
was the centre of the political administration and govermxent 
of the country. She was also nearer to her husband, who 
had gone to hold the meeting of the States of Hesse, at Mar 
burg. Several noble ladies came to assist and to watch by 
her night and day. On the 28th March, three days after the 
Annunciation of our Lady, she brought forth her first-born, 
fhe Duke had not beer able to leave Marburg, and it wag 
there announced that a son was born to him. Louis, over 



OF HUNOA.RT. 187 

joyed, richly rewarded the messenger, and set out at once to 
rejoin the young mother ; he arrived time enough to see the 
child baptized, and gave him the name of Hermann, in me 
mory of his father. To manifest the satisfaction which the 
birth of this son caused him, Louis had a stone bridge erected 
to replace the wooden one that led to the city of Creutz- 
burg. This bridge still exists, with a beautiful Gothic 
chapel dedicated to St. Liborius. A year after, 1224, the 
Duchess gave birth to a daughter, who was named Sophia, 
after the Duchess-dowager. This child was born at Wart- 
burg, from which the Duke did not wish Elizabeth to remove. 
In after years she was married to the Duke of Brabant ; and 
the members of the present house of Hesse are reckoned 
amongst her descendants. Elizabeth had two other daugh 
ters, one named also Sophia, and the third, born after her 
father s death, Gertrude both were consecrated to God 
from the cradle, and afterwards took the veil as spouses of 
the Lord. 

Faithful in all things to the humility and modesty she 
had prescribed for herself, Elizabeth as scrupulously pre 
served these virtues in the nrdst of the joys of her maternity 
as she had done in the magnificence of her sovereignty. 

After each of her confinements, as soon as the moment of 
her recovery arrived, instead of making it, as was the cus 
tom, the occasion of feasting and worldly rejoicing, she took 
her new born infant in her arms, went out secretly from the 
castle, clad in a plain woollen robe, and barefooted, and 
directed her steps towards a distant church, that of St. 
CatheAne, outside the walls of Eisenach. The descent waa 
long and toilsome, the path covered with sharp thorns, by 
which her feet were torn and bruised. On the way she 
herself carried her infant as the spotless Virgin had done. 
When arrived at the church she laid it on the altar, with a 
taper and a lamb, saying, " Lord Jesus Christ, to yon ard tc 



188 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

your dear Mother Mary, I offer this cherished fruit of my 
womb Behold, my God and my Lord, I give it with all my 
heart, such as you have given it to me ; to you who are the 
sovereign and most loving Father of the mother and thv, 
child. The only prayer I make you to-day, and the only 
grace I dare to request, is that it may please you to receive 
this little child, all bathed in my tears, into the number of 
your servants, and your friends, and to give it your holv 
benediction !" 



OF BUJrOARY 



CHAPTER XII. 

OW THB DUKE LOUIS PROTECTED HIS POOR PEOPLE. 

M Liberablt pauper urn a potente, pauperum cui non erat adj ntor." 

P*. Ixxl. 4, IS. 

" Indutus est justitia ut lorlca, ut galea salutls In capitc ejus : Indutua eat vesti- 
fcentis ultionis, et opertus est quasi palliu zeli. . . . ." 

"Quia ego Doiuinus, diligens judicium et odio habens rapinam." 7. bx. 17, 

ma 

IN the lives of these holy spouses, all tends to demonstrate 
to us the deep sympathy which united them, and how worthy 
they were of each other. We have seen the Duchess employ 
ing all the energy and ingenious tenderness of her soul, in 
solacing the woes of the unhappy who came within the sphere 
of her labours; we have now to show how Louis conse 
crated his courage and military talents to the defence of the 
interests of the people whom God committed to his care. 
The innate love of justice that we have already mentioned as 
one of his leading virtues, endowed him with so deep a sense 
of the rights of his subjects, and so generous a sympathy 
for tl em when their just privileges were invaded, that these 
sole motives frequently urged him to distant and expensive 
expeditions, the provocations to which profoundly astonished 
his neighbours and his vassals. Thus in l2 25 the Duke 
learned that some of his subjects who traded with Poland 
and the other Sclavonian nations, were attacked and robbed 
near the castle of Lubantsk, or Lubitz, in Poland. He re 
quested the Duke of Poland to make restitution to these un 
fortunates, and this was refused 

Then he convoked for the Feast of the Dispersion of UM 



190 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

Apostles, (in the ancient calendars this is marked for 15th 
July), a considerable army, consisting of Hessians, Thurin- 
gians, Franconians, and the Knights of Osterland. He led 
this army secretly to the banks of the Elbe, without announc 
ing his intentions. Arrived at Leipsic, he was joined, by the 
Saxon lords of his Palatinate, and several armed men of 
Misnia for he was guardian to his nephew, the young Mar 
grave of that province. Then did he declare to them that he 
purposed going into Poland to besiege the castle of Lubantsk, 
and to revenge the injury done to his poor subjects. This 
caused great astonishment amongst his followers, who could 
not understand why he would undertake so much for an 
affair between common merchants. As he would not change 
his purpose on account of their remonstrances, many of them 
wished to withdraw, but shame, and perhaps a fear of his 
severity, retained them They were then obliged to follow 
him to Poland, which he entered at the head of his army, 
preceded by three thousand five hundred chosen men as 
pioneers, who arrived at Lubantsk three days before him. 
They burned the city and besieged the castle whilst awaiting 
him. The Duke of Poland was extremely surprised to learn 
that the Landgrave of Thuriugia had come such a distance 
at the head of so powerful an army to invade his country, 
and sent him offers of pecuniary satisfaction ; but Louis re- 
pulsea them, saying, that these terms should have been made 
when he wrote in a friendly manner, before he took the field, 
as he did not now wish to let so long a journey go for 
nothing. Then having arrived before Lubantsk, he eagerly 
pressed the siege. The Polish prince sent a bishop to address 
to him new and powerful representations. This bishop told 
him that he should not forget that the Poles were also 
famous warriors, and that if he did not return without delay, 
the Duke of Poland would come on the following Monday 
With his army and exterminate all the Germans, 



191 

To this the Lanagrare replied, tnat &e would be delighted 
to make acquaintance with the Duke, and that he would 
remain eijrht days after the appointed Monday, to see what 
sort of people were these Poles. 

But neither the Duke nor his Poles appeared. Al tv 
aoine assaults the Castle surrendered, and Louis, after razu . 
it to the ground, returned home, leaving throughout all easi 
ern Germany the most favourable opinion of his justice, ecu 
rage, and love of the p <>}>le. 

Some time after the Duke took the field for a cause whicl 
seemed still more insignificant ; but this incident gives us so 
just an idea of the goodness and popularity of his character, 
as well as of the manners of the age, that we shall relate it in 
detail. 

Two or three years before, at the annual fair at Eisenach, 
as the Duke descended to the city, and amused himself ID 
looking at the shops and the stalls, he saw a pedlar who had 
but a very small pack, containing thimbles, needles, spoons 
leaden images, and little ornaments for women. The Duko 
asked him if he were able to make a livelihood out of 
this traffic. "Well, my lord," replied the pedlar, "I am 
ashamed to beg, and I am not strong enough for manual 
labour ; but if I could only go in safety from city to city, I 
could, with God s blessing, earn a living with this little trade, 
and even manage so that at the end of the year it would be 
worth as much more as it was at the beginning." 

The good Duke, touched with compassion, said to him, 
* Well, I will grant thee a passport for a year ; thou shalt 
|^y neither taxes nor duties throughout the extent of my 
dominions. How much is thy pack worth ?" " Twenty shil 
lings," said the pedlar. " Give him ten shillings," said the 
Prince to his treasurer, who accompanied him, "and make 
him out a passport with my seal affixed." Then turning to 
wards the pedlar he said to him, " I wish to engage in half 



f92 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

of thy business; promise me that thou wilt be a faithful part 
ner, and I will keep thee from all harm." The poor pedla* 
was overjoyed, and went his way with full confidence of suc 
cess. On the return of the new year, he came to meet his 
noble associate at Wartburg, and showed him his pack, 
which was much enlarged. The Landgrave took some little 
matters, which he gave to his servants. On each New Year s 
day the pedlar returned to Wartburg to inform the Prince 
of the state of his funds, which soon became so considerable, 
and his wares so many, that he could no longer carry them 
on his back ; so he purchased an ass, made two bales of his 
merchandise, and each time performed journeys longer and 
more profitable. 

Now it happened that towards the end of the year 1225, 
the pedlar went to Venice, and purchased there a quan 
tity of rare and precious matters, large rings, bracelets and 
brooches, crowns and diadems of jewels, cups and mirrors ol 
ivory, knives, adders tongues, rosaries of coral, &c. And as 
he was preparing to return to ThuriDgia, in order to be at 
Wartburg, as was his wont, on New Year s day, he arrived 
at Wurtzburg in Franconia, where he exposed his wares for 
sale. Certain Franconians, who came to inspect them, saw 
many ornaments which they would be glad to have to present 
to their wives and friends, but without paying for them. So 
they watched for the pedlar s departure, and went some 
distance from the city to lie in ambush for him ; as he passed 
they rushed upon him, and carried off his ass and his mer 
chandise* 

It was in vain that he showed them the passport granted 
by the Landgrave of Thuringia ; they laughed at it, and were 
going to bind him, to bring him away with them, and it was 
with difficulty he escaped from their hands. He went in 
adness to Eisenach to seek his sovereign and associate, and 
related to him his misfortune. " My dear partner," said tht 



OF HUNGARY, 

good prince smiling, " be not so troubled at the loss of our 
goods ; have a little patience, and leave me the care of 
seeking them." Immediately he convoked the counts, knights, 
and squires of the neighbourhood, and even the peasants, who 
fought on foot, put himself at their head, entered without 
lulay into Fraiicouia, devastating the country to the gates of 
Wurtzburg, inquiring everywhere for his ass. On hearing 
of this invasion, the Prince Bishop of Wurtzburg sent to ask 
Lira what he meant by such conduct. The Duke replied that 
he was seeking a certain ass of his which the bishop s men had 
stolen. The prelate had restitution made to him at once for 
the ass and the baggage, and the good Duke returned home 
triumphant, to the great admiration of the poor people, whose 
zealous defender he was. 

But whilst he was thus occupied he received from the 
Emperor Frederic II. an invitation to join him in Italy. He 
set out immediately, and crossed the Alps before the end of 
winter. He went with the Emperor through all the campaign 
against the Bolognese, and the other insurgent cities, and 
was at the great Diet of Cremona in 1226. 

The Emperor was so satisfied with his courage and devotion 
that he granted him the investiture of the Margravate of 
Misnia, in case the posterity of his sister Judith, widow of the 
late Margrave, became extinct, and also that of all the country 
Le could conquer in Prussia and Lithuania, whither he enter 
tained the project of going to extend the Christian faith. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

MOW A GEKAT FAMINE DEVASTATED THURINGIA, AND HOW FH.A. DSA1 
8T. ELIZABETH PRACTISED ALL THE WORKS OF MERUY. 

"Esurtvi, et dedistls mihi manducare; sitlvi, et dedistis mihi biber-e; hospes ram 
it oollegistis me; nudus, et cooperuistis me; infirmus, et visitaatis me in career* 
M-ftrn, et ventetis ad me." St. Matt. rxv. 84-86. 

SCARCELY had the Duke set out under the imperial banner, 
when a frightful famine overspread all Germany, and particu 
larly ravaged Thuringia. The famished people were reduced 
to the greatest extremities ; the poor went out into the fields 
and forests, and to the waysides, in search of roots and wild 
fruits, such as were usually the food of animals. They de 
voured dead horses and asses, and even the most unclean 
beasts ; a great number of these unfortunates died of hunger, 
*nd the reads were covered with their bodies. At the sight 
f so much misery, Elizabeth s heart was filled with pity. 
Henceforward her only thought, her only occupation, by night 
and by day, was the relief of her unhappy people. The 
castle of Wartburg, where her husband had left her, became 
the source of boundless charity, whence flowed unceasingly 
inexhaustible benefits to the population of the neighbourhood, 
She began by distributing to the indigent of the duchy, all 
the ready money in the ducal treasury, which amounted to 
the enormous sum, for that time, of sixty-four thousand 
goldeo florin* ; these were the proceeds of the sale of rerun? 
properties. 

Then she caused all her husband s granaries to be opened, 
*nd notwithstanding the opposition of the officers of th 



Or H.tfGART. 195 

household, she gave all the grain they contained, without any 
reserve, to the poor. There was so much in store, that ac 
cording to contemporary writers, to buy the quantity of corn 
thus disposed of, the two greatest castles, and several cities 
of the duchy should be put in pledge. Elizabeth knew ho\f 
lo unite prudence with this boundless generosity. Instead of 
giving out the corn in great quantities, in which it might be 
wasted, she distributed every day to each person the portion 
requisite for sustenance. 

In order to avoid all unnecessary expense, she had every 
day, as much bread baked at the castle as all its ovens could 
contain, and this she served with her own hands to the poor. 
Nine hundred persons came daily to be fed, and departed 
laden with her alms. But there were many more whom 
weakness, illness and infirmity hindered from ascending the 
mountain on which the ducal residence was situated, and it 
was for these that Elizabeth redoubled her care and compas 
sion during those awful times. To the weakest she daily 
carried the remains of her repasts and those of her maidens, 
and their scanty meals were almost untasted through fear ol 
lessening the share of the poor. In the hospital containing 
twenty-eight beds, which she had founded midway on the as 
cent to the castle, she placed the sufferers who required her 
immediate care ; and she had it so organized, that no sooner 
was one poor person dead, than his bed was immediately occu 
pied by some newly-admitted patient. 

She established two almshouses in the city of Eisenach 
one for poor women, under the invocation of the Holy Spirit, 
near the gate of St. George ; another under that of St. Ann, 
for the sick in general. The latter exists to this day. 

Twice every day without fail, at morn and at eventide, 
tLe young Duchess descended and reasceuded the toilsome 
road from Wartburg to these houses, regardless of ib 
fatigue she thereby endured, in order that she might visit h*- 



106 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

pocr ones, and carry to them all that would be useful fd 
their wants. When arrived at these asylums of misery, she 
ased to go from bed to bed, asking all what they wished for, 
.<nd performing for each services the most repulsive, with a 
ueal and tendernesss which the love of God and his special 
grace alone could inspire. She fed with her own hands those 
whose maladies were most severe ; she made their beds, 
raised and carried them on her back, or in her arms, to lay 
them on other couches ; she washed their faces with her own 
veil, and did all with a gaiety and amenity that nothing 
could alter. Though she had a natural repugnance to bad 
iir, and it was generally most trying to her, still she would 
remain in the midst of the mephitic atmosphere of the sick 
wards, even during the summer heats, without expressing 
the slightest dislike, though her attendants could not endure it, 
but often murmured loudly. 

Elizabeth founded in one of these hospitals an asylum for 
deserted children, or orphans; these were the objects of her 
special tenderness, and she lavished on them the most affec 
tionate care. Their little hearts soon understood how sweet a 
mother the Lord had deigned to give them in their misery. 
Whenever she came amongst them they ran to meet her, and 
clung to her garments, crying out, Mamma ! Mamma ! She 
used to have them sitting around her, and used to distribute 
little presents to them, and examine the state of each one. 
She testified particular affection and pity for those most de 
formed or repulsive, by taking them on her knees and fondly 
caressing them. 

Elizabeth was not only the benefactress of these poor 
people, but also their friend and confidant. One poor sick 
man related to her privately that his conscience was burthened 
with the remembrance of a debt he owed. She quieted him 
by promising to discharge it herself, which she immediately 
did. The time that she could spare from the wperinteudeue* 



Or HUNGARY. 197 

of these hospitals she employed in visiting the suburbs of 
Wartburg, in distributing provisions and assistance to the 
poor who could not come to the castle, in entering the poor* 
est cabins, and performing for their inmates offices the lowest 
and most beneath her rank. One day she went into the hut 
of a sick woman who was alone, and who begged plaintively 
for some milk, saying that she had not sufficient strength 
to go and milk her cow ; immediately the humble princess 
entered the stable and set about milking the cow, but the 
animal, little accustomed to be touched by such delicate 
hands, would not permit her to accomplish her benevolent 
intention. 

Elizabeth loved to attend the poor in their agony, in order 
to assuage their pains, to receive their last sigh with a kiss of 
sisterly charity, to pray to God fervently during entire hours 
to sanctify their deaths, and to receive their souls into His 
glory. She most faithfully continued her custom of watching 
the obsequies of these lowly ones ; and, notwithstanding tho 
increase of mortality, she was seen continually following their 
remains to the grave, after seeing them enveloped in cloth 
woven by her own hands for this purpose, or else chosen from 
her own garments, as she frequently cut up the large white 
veil which she was in the habit of wearing. She could not 
bear that the rich should be buried in new or expensive 
inrouds, but ordered that their grave-clothes should be old 
or coarse, and that the difference in value between them and 
the new should be given to the poor. 

Neither did poor prisoners escape her solicitude. She 
Tisited them wherever she heard of such being confined ; with 
money she delivered those detained for debt ; she cleansed 
and anointed the wounds produced by the chains on the 
others ; and then, kneeling by their sides, she would with 
them beg God to watch over and to preserve them from all 
future pain or punishment. 



198 LIFl OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

All these occupations, so calculated to fill the soul with 
fatigue, disgust, and impatience, inspired her with celestial 
peace and joy ; whilst she poured forth on her poor brethren 
the riches of her charity, her heart arid mind were frequently 
derated to the Lord, and her benevolent occupations were 
often interrupted to say to Him aloud : " Lord, how can 
I sufficiently thank you for having given me cause to gather 
together these poor ones, who are your dearest friends, and ta 
permit me to serve them myself." And one day as she made 
this ejaculatory prayer in the hospital, the patients thought 
they saw an angel appearing and saying to her, " Rejoice, 
Elizabeth, for thou also art the friend of God thou shinest 
before his eyes like the moon." 

Other wonderful signs seemed to prove to simple and faith 
ful souls how agreeable to God were the charity and humilitj 
Dt this princess. One day when she had bought in the city 
some earthen vases, and several kinds of rings, and toys ol 
glass for her class of poor children, as she returned to the 
castle in a carriage, the awkwardness of the driver caused the 
vehicle to overturn, and it fell from a rock on a heap of Atones ; 
yet Elizabeth was not hurt, nor was one of the toys which she 
carried broken. She immediately brought these presents to 
her little charge, to gladden them. 

Another time, as she carried in her apron some food to a 
group of mendicants, she saw with uneasiness that she had 
not a sufficient quartity to give some to each, and that every 
moment more supplicants arrived. She then began to pray 
interiorly while distributing the food, and found that, accord 
ing as she gave pieces away, they were replaced by others, 
o that after giving each beggar his share there was still some 
left. She returned to the castle, singing with her companions 
the praises of God, who had deigned to communicate to 
her his all-powerful virtue according to his formal promise : 
u Amen, amen, I say to you, he that believetk in me, the workt 



OF BUX01.RY. 199 

that I do, he als shall do, and greater than these shall ht 
do" t. John xiv. 12. 

It was not only on the people in the neighbourhood of her 
residence that Elizabeth lavished her care and love. The 
inhabitants of even the most distant parts of her husband l 
dominie as were equally the objects of her sovereign and ma 
ternal solicitude. She gave express orders that the revenue! 
derived by Duke Louis from Thuringia, Hesse, the Palatinates 
of S ixe and Osterland, should be exclusively consecrated to 
the i elief and support of the poor whom the famine had left 
with jut resources, and watched the exact execution of this 
order, notwithstanding the opposition of the officers of the 
Duke. Yet to satisfy still further for the want of her per 
sonal care, which distance prevented her from rendering, she 
sold all her jewels, precious stones, and valuable articles, and 
distributed to them their price. These regulations were con 
tinued until the harvest of 1226 ; then the Duchess assembled 
all the poor who were able to work, men and women ; she 
gave tbam new clothes and shoes, that their feet might not 
be wounded or torn by the stubble in the fields, and set them 
all to labour. To all those who were not strong enough to 
work, she distributed clothes which she had made or purchased 
for this purpose. She made this distribution with her own 
hands, and bade these poor ones an affectionate farewell, 
giving ilso to each a small sum of money ; and when her 
money failed, she took her veils and silken robes, and divided 
them ajiongst the women, saying to them, " I do not wish 
that yo a should retain these matters for dress, but that you 
should sell them to satisfy your wants ; and also that you 
should labour according to your strength, for it is written, 
Tha he who works not, eats not" " Qui no~i laborat non 
mat dutet" 

A poor old woman, to whom the Duchess had given a 
sheraifi, shoes, and a cloak, was so rejoiced, that, after crying 



100 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

ut that she was never so happy in her life, she swooned 
away as one dead. The good Elizabeth hastened to raise 
her, and reproached herself as having sinned in endangering 
by her imprudence the life of this woman 

We have visited with a tender respect and scrupulous care 
the place which was the centre of a charity so inexhaurtible, 
a devotion so heavenly We have followed over the rugged 
pathways trodden by the feet of the indefatigable friend of 
the poor ; for a long while did we contemplate the magcifi 
cent scenery visible from the height of Wartburg, thinking, 
meantime, that the blessed eyes of Elizabeth had also during 
thw greater part of her life looked upon this vast extent of 
country, and glanced upon it all with a ray of that love which 
Jias neither its origin nor its recompense in this world. 

41as ! the monuments founded by this royal lady have aD 
perished ; the people forgot her when they lost the faith of 
i heir fathers , some aames alone have been retained, and 
these preserve for the Catholic pilgrim the traces of the be 
loved Saint. 

Even in the castle of Wartburg, the remembrance of Lu 
ther, of pride revolted and victorious, has dethroned that ol 
the humility and charity of Elizabeth ; in the ancient chapel 
where she so often prayed, the traveller is shown the pulpit 
of the proud heresiarch. But the site of the hospital which 
she had erected at her palace-gates, that she might never 
forget human miseries in the splendour of her rank, has been 
left to her and preserves her name. An hundred years artei 
her death, iu 1331, the hospital was replaced by a convent of 
Franciscans, founded in her honour by the Landgrave Fred 
erick the Serious. At the Reformation it was suppressed, 
and the seventeen other convents and churches of Eisenach 
were destroyed arid pillaged in one day, whilst the priests and 
monks walked two and two, chaunting the Te Deum, heed 
be* of the clamour c the populace. The foundation of tht 



OF HUNGARY. 201 

Benefactress of the country was not more respected, and the 
stones of it were employed to repair tne fortifications of the 
castle. 

But there remains a fountain of pure and sparkling water, 
flowing into a massive basin hollowed out of the rock, witn- 
out any ornament saving the wild flowers and greensward 
surrounding it. This was where Elizabeth washed the linen 
of the poor, and it is still called "Elizabeth s Fountain." All 
around is a bushy plantation which hides this place from the 
greater number of the passers-by ; there are also some traces 
of a surrounding wall, and the enclosure is called by the peo 
ple "Elizabeth?* Garden." 

Further still to the east, at the foot of the mountain on 
which Wartbourg is built, between it and the ancient Car 
thusiau monastery, consecrated to our Saint in 1394, may be 
seen a lovely * alley watered by a peaceful stream running in 
the midst of fields variegated with roses and lilies ; the banks 
are shaded by venerable oaks, remains of CQ ancient forests 
of Germany. In one of its windings there is a secret and 
lonely spot wherein is a poor cabin, and where formerly there 
was a chapel. It was here Elizabeth received the poor, 
God s friends and hers ; it was here she came, tender, inge 
nious, indefatigable, by hidden pathways through the woods, 
laden with provisions and other aid, to save them the pain of 
ascending the toilsome road to the castle, and also to prevent 
the remarks of men. This solitary spot is still called the 
"Field of Lilies;" this humble cabin the "Repose of fa 
Poor," and the valley formerly bore the sweet name of 
s Valley." 



202 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 



CHAPTER XIV. 

OW DUKE LOUIS RETURNED TO HIS WIFE, AND HOW HE REXDEXK* 
TRUE JUSTICE TO HIS DEAR MONKS OF REYNHARTSBRUJWi . 

Confldit in ea cor virl sal. Prov. xxxt 2. 

** In trlbus placltum est spirltui meo. Ooncordla fratrum, et amor prox Jnoram, 
tt vlr et mulier bene sibi consentientea." Secies, xxv. 1, 2. 

Louis, informed no doubt of the woes that afflicted hig 
people, demanded and obtained permission from the 5 mperor 
to return to his dukedom. He set out on the 23d of June, 
1226, and arrived at Cremona on St. John s eve, just as the 
people were kindling the fires on the surrounding heights. 
After having happily crossed the Alps, he took up his quar 
ters with a prince, not named by historians, but who was his 
near relative and friend. He was received with ceremony 
and magnificence ; and after superb feasting, with music and 
singing, he was conducted to his sleeping-chamber, where the 
prince, anxious to test the virtue of his guest, had placed a 
young woman of extraordinary beauty. But the young duke 
said immediately to his faithful attendant, the lord de Varila, 
"Take away this young woman quietly, and give her a mark 
3f silver wherewith to buy a new mantle, that want ma^ not 
again urge her to expose herself to sin. I say unto thee in 
all sincerity, that even if adultery were not a sin before God, 
iior a scandal in the eyes of my fellow men, I ^ould never 
consent to it, solely through love for my dear Elizabeth, and 
fear of saddening or troubling her soul." 

The next morning, as the prince jested with him on this 
abject, Louis replied, "Know, my cousin, that to obtain 



OF HUNJABT. 203 

the whole Roman empire I would not commit such a sin." 
Then continuing his journey he arrived at Augsbourg on the 
2d July ; here he remained fifteen days to recommend the 
cause of Henry, son of the Emperor, to the Duke of Bavaria, 
and to obtain his consent to receive this young prince at his 
court. Having succeeded in this, he set out for Thnringia 
and passed the Mein at Schweinfurt, where he was received 
with great honour by the burgesses ; but after supper he was 
warned that Count Poppin, his deadliest enemy, intended to 
surprise and attack him during the night. To avoid this 
dangtT he set out immediately, travelled all night, and arrived 
at Wartbnrg next day, which was on Friday about the hour 
of Nones. 

The news of the approach of the beloved prince had filled 
all Thuringia with immense joy. The famine-stricken saw in 
the return of their father and generous protector, hope for the 
termination of their woes. His mother, hfs young brothers 
were gladdened, but the joy of Elizabeth surpassed that of all 
the others. It had been the first prolonged absence of the 
husband so dear to her, who alone understood and sympa 
thised with all the aspirations of her soul to God and towards 
a still more perfect life. She alone also fathomed the depth 
of his soul s riches, whilst the rest of mankind attributed to 
him failings and passions like to the other princes of his time. 
The principal officers of his household, particularly the Se 
neschal and the Marshal, fearing the anger of their lord, 
when he should have learned the use that had been made of 
his treasures and provisions, went out to meet him, and de 
nounced to him what they denominated the reckless expendi 
ture of the Duchess ; how she had emptied the granaries of 
Wartburg, and used all the money left in their care, notwith 
standing their efforts to prevent her. These complaints but ir 
ritated the Duke, and he spoke to them thus : " Is my de*r wife 
well ? that is all I care to know, the rest matters not !" TheD 



204 LIFE OP ST. ELIZABETH, 

he added, "I wish that you would allow my good little Eiiz 
beth to give as much alms as she pleases, and that you would 
rather assist than contradict her ; let her give as much as she 
wishes for God s sake, provided only that she .leaves me Eise 
nach, Wartburg, and Naumburg. God will return the rest 
whon he thinks it good. We shall never be impoverished by 
alms-deeds." 

He then hastened to meet his beloved Elizabeth. When 
she saw him her joy was boundless ; she threw herself into 
his arras, and kissed him a thousand times with her lips and 
in her heart. " Dear sister," said he, while he held her in his 
embrace, " what has become of thy poor people during this 
bad year ?" She replied gently, " I have given to God what 
belonged to Him, and God has taken care of what belonged 
to thee and to me." 

Tradition adds, that as the Duke passed with her through 
his great hall, he saw corn flowing in under all the doors, so 
that they walked upon it. Then having sent the Seneschal 
to see whence it came, the latter replied that the presses were 
so full of corn that the grain ran over and covered the ground 
Then Louis and his wife blessed God. The lord de Yarila 
then came to the Duchess and related what had happened at 
the prince s, where her husband s fidelity had been put to the 
proof. She immediately knelt, and said, " Lord, I am not 
worthy to have so good a husband ; but aid us both to 
observe the sanctity of marriage, so that we may live eter 
aally in Thy presence." 

No sooner had he returned to his dominions, than this 
noble and pious prince occupied himself in considering the 
interests of his subjects. Whilst he watched with prudence 
and intelligence over the important negotiations, with which, 
notwithstanding his extreme youth, the Emperor intrusted 
him, he had always his sword at hand to protect the monki 
tnd the poor. 



or HCHOART. 205 

Even while serving as a mediator between the Emperor 
and Ottocar King of Bohemia, and treating of a marriage 
between the daughter of this sovereign and Henry, the young 
king of the Romans, he went through his dominions to dis 
cover and to repair any wrongs committed towards the poor 
people during his absence. Several nobles of Osterland, who 
had oppressed their vassals and disturbed the public peace, 
took to flight on hearing of his coming ; he occupied theii 
castles, and completely destroyed those of Sultz and Kal- 
benruck. 

Louis went as soon as possible to visit his dear monks of 
Reynhartsbrunn. The Abbot complained to him that a 
neighbouring lord of Saltza had profited of his absence to 
usurp possession of a piece of ground belonging to the monas 
tery, on the mountain called Aldenberg, which governs the 
valley wherein the monastery was situated, and tha*, he had 
thereon built a fortification from which he continually annoyed 
the religious and their people. It was on Saturday evening 
that Louis arrived and heard this complaint. He wrote at 
once to the Seneschals of Wartburg and Eisenach to come 
and bring with them their armed men and scaling-ladders, to 
meet him at the convent next morning before light. 

At the dawning of Sunday morning he heard a low mass, 
and told the Abbot not to carry his cross, nor to permit high 
mass to be sung until his return ; then he mounted his horse, 
oeaded his soldiers, and conducted them at once to the battle 
field The surprise was complete, the walls were scaled, and 
the lord of Saltza himself taken prisoner. The Duke had 
him brought OL foot to the Abbey. As soon as they arrived 
the cross was carried out, and the usual procession for mass 
formed, whilst the usurper-knight and his soldiers were led in 
chains before the cross. The chanter entoned the verse : 

14 Dmin, to kuftiliMtt stout ruin* rmtun 



OC LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

and all the religious responded 

"In brachio vlrtutis tu dispertiati inimicos tuos." 

After Mass, the Duke made the lord of Saltza swear that 
ne would renounce every ulterior proceeding against the 
monastery, and then he released him, after giving orders to 
have the castle he had taken that morning immediately razed 
to the ground. 

The good prince dreaded putting the monastery to any 
expense on his account ; he established a kitchen and a 
larder for the use of his attendants when he made any delay 
ihere ; and, when going away, he always took care to have 
as much provision left behind as supported the convent for 
three days. But on the Sunday of the expedition against 
the lord of Saltza, the Abbot prayed him to take his repast 
with him, and provided a rich and abundant feast. When 
rising from table, Louis took his treasurer aside, and desired 
that a large recompense should be given on this occasion. 
This officer sought the monks to give them the money, but 
they refused positively to take it, " as was fitting conduct for 
well born religious," says the almoner who has left us the 
recital of this scene. " Dear lord treasurer," said they, " all 
that we can do, poor monks that we are, is at the disposal of 
our good prince, not only to-day, but every time he desires 
anything ; but we will not take his money." The treasurer 
insisted no longer, but set out with the Duke. When they 
were half-way to Eisenach, Louis turned to him, and asked 
bow he had fulfilled his orders. The treasurer reluted all 
that had passed, upon which the Duke, quite irritated, said, 
" Since thou didst not pay for what I bought with my money, 
thou must pay it with thine own." And the poor man was 
obliged to return to Reynhartsbrunn, and to pay from his 
own purse even to the last farthing. 

A little time after, fie Abbot of the same monastery mad 



OF HUNGARY. 207 

known to Louis that certain honourable people of Franconia 
had carried away from him a hogshead of wine and six horses. 
The Duke summoned them to make immediate restitution of 
the stolen goods ; and as his command was suffered to remain 
unheeded, he entered Franconia at the head of an army, 
ravaged the possessions of the guilty party, and obliged the 
latter to come in their shirts, witli ropes around their necks, 
and barefooted, to make an apology at the convent. He 
released them, after making them agree to send to the monks 
a great quantity of the best wine and several good horses. 

About this time there was held a great court, or assembly 
of princes, at Mersebourg, to which the nobles of Misnia, Sax 
ony, and the Brandenburgian provinces repaired. Those ol 
Hesse and Thuringia also went there, guided by the example 
of their Duke Louis, who brought with him his Elizabeth ac 
companied by a numerous court. One circumstance whict 
well depicts the manners of the age renders this meeting re 
markable. 

A Thuringian knight, renowned for his valour and piety, 
Walter tie Settlestcedt, a friend of Louis, and one of the officers 
of his household, followed his sovereign ; he brought with 
him a maiden of rare beauty, mounted on a superb palfrey, 
with a good falcon on her wrist. 

On the journey he stopped after every three miles to joust 
against all comers, on condition that, if he was unhorsed, his 
victorious adversary should carry off his armour and equip 
ments, the palfrey and the falcon from the maiden, and the 
maiden should redeem herself by giving a golden ring ; if, on 
the contrary, Lord Walter was victor, the vanquished should 
offer the lady a gold ring. At every halt made by the lord 
of Settlestcedt, there were strifes amongst the knights for the 
honour of tilting against him. To restore peace, he was 
obliged each time to point out him whom he selected to be 
hi* adversary. He thus travelled to Mersebourg and back 



08 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

again without ever being conquered, and on re-entering Thn- 
ringia, his fair attendant had on each finger of both hands a 
ring paid by a vanquished knight. Lord Walter offered these 
ten rings to the ladies of honour of the DucL<;ss Elizabeth, 
at which they were much rejoiced, and with their royal mi 
trees they returned him hearty thaiiits ror his generosity. 



HUNGARY. QOt 



CHAPTER XV. 

OW THE GOOD DUKE LOUIS TOOK UP THE CROSS, AND OP THE OIUEAf 
GRIEF WHEREWITH HE BADE FAREWELL TO HIS FRIENDS, HI! 
FAMILY, AND THE DEAR SAINT ELIZABETH. 

" Oftcul&ntee se alterutrum fleverunt parlter." 1 Reg. xx. 41. 
"Quo abiit dilectus tuus, o pulcherrima mulierum? Quo declinavit dilectus?" 

Cant. v. 17 

"8c do thou also learn to part with a necessary and beloved friend for th love of 
QioA." Imitation of Christ, B. 2, C. 9. 

THURINGIA did not long enjoy the presence of its beloved 
sovereign after his return from Italy, and Elizabeth, who had 
welcomed her husband again to her side with a joy so lively 
and so tender, was soon to be condemned to another separa 
tion far more painful and uncertain. In a word, all Germany 
prepared for a crusade. The Emperor Frederic II., yielding 
at length to the frequent exhortations of the Sovereign Pon 
tiffs, Honorius III. and Gregory IX., invited all the nobility 
and the faithful of Christendom to range themselves under 
the banner of the Cross, and to follow him to the Holy Land 
in the autumn of 1227. The idea and name of CRUSADE were 
alone sufficiect to make the hearts of all nations beat with 
ardour. The^e great and holy expeditions exercised over 
souls an influence so powerful that no valiant knight nor 
pious and fervent Christian could resist it. The remembrance 
of the almost fabulous exploits of Richard Coeur de Lion, 
forty years before, still lived in the minds of the Chivalry and 
the people. The brilliant and unhoped for success of the 
Fourth Crusade, dazzled all Europe. People saw the destruc 
tion of that ancient empire of Byzantium, which never did els 



210 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

than betray the Christians who were fighting for the faith, 
but which still occupied an immense place in the veneration 
of Christendom, and from the ruins of which was destined to 
rise a new empire founded by a few French knights and some 
Venetian merchants. In this there was sufficient to awaken 
all imaginations, even without the inspiration of faith, and 
these had not yet lost any portion of their strength. The 
whole of the thirteenth century was penetrated with an ear 
nest desire to rescue the tomb of Christ, and to bow down 
the power of the East before the cross. The feeling was ex 
tinguished only at the death of St. Louis. Germany, which 
was never before the first to engage in these noble perils, was 
now inflamed with an enthusiasm that burst forth particu 
larly in the numerous songs of the age. Walther Von der 
Vogelweide, whose poems mirror most faithfully the manners 
and feelings of his time, and who entered this crusade, has 
best expressed the attraction felt by Christian souls towards 
the land where Christ s sacred blood was shed for our salvar 
tion. " We all know," said he before he set out on this ex 
pedition, "how unhappy is this holy and noble land, how 
abandoned she is and desolate I Weep, Jerusalem ! weep ! 
how art thou forgotten I Life passes, death will find us still 
sinners. It is in dangers and trials that we acquire grace ; 
let us go to heal the wounds of Christ ; let us go to free His 
country from her chains. Queen of all women, come to 
our aid ! It was there thy Sou so pure was baptized to pu 
rify us I it was there He was sold to redeem us, He so rich, 
we so poor ! It was there He suffered a most cruel death ! 
Hail to you! Lance, Cross, Thorns ! Defeat to you pagans ! 
By the arms of His heroes does God wish to revenge the in 
juries done Him," These were also the emotions expressed 
by the royal bard of Navarre, Thibault of Champagne, in 
Borne of the fine poems addressed by him to his nobles. 
M Know well my lords," says he, " that he who goes not 



OF HUNGARY. 211 

to this land who takes not up the Cross beyond the seas, 
will find it hard to enter Paradise. Every man who feela 
gome pity for the sufferings, and preserves the remembrance 
of the most High Lord, should strive to revenge Him, and to 
deliver His country. All the valiant knights, all who love 
God and the honour of this world, all who wish to go wisely 
to God, will go there ; none will remain at home but the 
slothful and indifferent. How blind are they who during 
their lives do nought for God, and who for so little lose even 
the glory of this world. God who deigned to suffer death for 
us on the Cross, will say on the day of the great judgment, 
You who have aided me to carry my Cross, shall go to join 
the blessed company of the angels ; there you will see me, 
and my mother Mary: but you, who never did me any service, 
shall descend into Hell. Sweet Lady, crowned Queen, pray 
for us, most blessed Virgin, and nought then can harm us." 

In no heart could these sentiments find a deeper echo 
than in that of Duke Louis of Thuringia, whose vassal the 
poet Walther had been. No one could more earnestly desire 
to follow the emperor and his brothers in arms to the rescue 
of the Holy Land. His brilliant courage, the fervour of his 
faith and piety, all that was in his young soul of generous, 
ardent, disinterested, in a word, all that was Christian, com 
bined to induce him to take up the Cross, or as it was then 
called in Germany to adorn himself with the flower of Christ 

To these personal motives were added the noble examples 
presented by the records of his family. Louis the pious, bro 
ther and predecessor of his father, had accompanied Richard 
Co3ur de Lion, and Philip Augustus to Palestine, and ac 
quired a glorious renown. His father-in-law, King Andiew 
of Hungary, had spent several years of his life under an 
eastern sky, fighting against the infidels. 

It would be unworthy of Lo jis to remain by his fire-side ; 
o he did not waver long, bat soon came to a noble deter 



fl FK OP ST. ELIZABETH, 

minatiou. Having met during one of his journeys with tht 
venerable Bishop Conrad of Hildesheim, he confided to him 
his intention, and having received his approbation he made a 
row to join the expedition then in preparation, and received 
the cross from the hands of this prelate. 

Meanwhile when returning to Wartburg he thought upon 
tie grief and deep anxiety that his beloved Elizabeth would 
feel on learning his resolution ; and besides, as she was then 
pregnant of her fourth child, he had not courage to speak of 
it to her. He decided upon concealing his project until the 
moment of his departure, in order that she whom he loved so 
much should not be over afflicted lest of injury to her health; 
so in place of attaching the Cross exteriorly to his person, he 
wore it secretly. 

But one evening as they sat alone, side by side, Elizabeth, 
in a moment of the tender familiarity that existed between 
them, unloosed her husband s belt and began to search the 
almspurse attached to it. Immediately she drew from it the 
Cross, the usual badge of a crusader. At this sight she felt 
the misfortune that threatened her, and seized by grief and 
affright she fell senseless to the ground. The Duke raised 
her, and strove to calm her sorrow by the sweetest and most 
affectionate words; he spoke to her for a k>ng time, using the 
voice of religion, and even the language of the holy Scr p- 
tures, to which she was never insensible. "It is for the love 
of our Lord Jesus Christ," said he, " that I go. Thou wilt 
not prevent me from doing for God what I should do for a 
temporal prince for the emperor or the empire, if they re 
quired my services." After a long silence and much weeping 
he said to him, " Dear brother, if it be not against God s 
will, remain witl me." But he replied, " Dear sister, per 
mit me to set out, for I have made a vow to God." Then 
entering into herself she immolated her will to God and said 
to her husband, " Against God s will, I wish not to detain 



OF HUNGARY. 21.1 

thee. I have offered thee and myself as a sacrifice to Him 
May He in His goodness watch over thee. May all happi 
ness attend thee for ever ! This shall be my prayer each 
moment. Go then in the name of God." 

They again remained in silence, but afterwards spoke of 
Le child she then bore in her womb, and they resolved to 
wnsecrate it to God from its birth. In case it was a boy 
thej agreed that he should enter the abbey of Ramersdorf ; 
out if a girl, that she should be sent to the monastery of the 
Premonstratensians near Wetzlar. 

The Duke having no longer any motive to keep his deci 
sion secret, made it known to all his subjects. He announced 
at the same time that this expedition should be formed en 
tirely at his own expense, and that for its maintenance he 
would not levy any extraordinary tax upon his subjects ; 
happy to be able thus to return to the Lord some of the 
blessings he had received from Him. 

After having made all the military preparations that his 
project required, he convoked the estates of his dominions to 
a solemn assembly at Creutzburg. He detailed to them his 
design, and took with them the necessary measures for the 
good government of his country during his absence. He 
exhorted his nobles to rule the people with mildness and 
equity, and to let justice and peace reign over them and their 
vassals. Before quitting the assembly, he addressed the fol 
lowing words in a gentle tone of voice to his audience : 

"Dear and loyal brothers-in-arras, barons, lords, and noble 
knights, and you, my faithful people, you know that during 
the lifetime of my lord and father of pious memory, our 
country had cruel wars and many troubles to endure. Yon 
know how my royal father suffered pains, reverses, and 
fatigues, to defend himself against his relentless enemies, and 
to preserve his kingdom from utter ruin. He succeeded by 
dint of courage and generosity, and his name became fo 



214 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

midable to all. As for me, God has granted to me, as he 
did to Solomon, son of David, peaceful and tranquil days. 
I know not any neighbour that I have reason to fear, neither 
can any one dread from me unlawful violence. If in times 
past I have had some conflicts, I am now at peace with all, 
thanks to the Lord the Giver of peace. You should all be 
sensible of this blessing, and thank God for it. As for me, 
through love for that God who has loaded me with favours, 
to testify to him my gratitude, and for the salvation of my 
soul, I am now going to the eastern country to the succour of 
oppressed Christianity, and to defend it against the enemies 
of the name and of the blood of Christ. I undertake this 
distant expedition at my own expense, without burthening 
you, my dear subjects, with any additional impost. 

"I recommend to the protection of the Most High my 
good and well-beloved wife, my little children, my dear bro 
thers, my friends, my people, and my country ; in a word, all 
that I leave, with a willing heart, for the honour of His holy 
name. 

" I earnestly recommend you to keep peace between you 
during my absence ; above all, I hope that my nobles will 
conduct themselves in a Christian-like manner towards my 
poor people. In fine, I beg of you to pray frequently tc 
God for me that he may preserve me from all misfortune 
during this journey, and that He may bring me safe and 
sound again to you, if it be His most merciful will, for I 
submit myself, and you, and all that I hold dear, to the 
pleasure of His Divine Majesty." 

In these touching words is revealed to us all the depth of 
what was then called " The Mystery of the Crusade? a mys 
tery of faith, devotion, and love, ever impenetrable ./o the 
cold understandings of faithless ages. In listening to this 
farewell, so worthy of a Christian prince, all the assembly 
was deeply moved ; the strongest knights were oppressed 



or HUNGARY-. 215 

with grief, and with sighs and tears expressed the auuety 
caused them by the approaching departure of their young 
and well-beloved sovereign. 

The Duke then, with the greatest prudence, appointed the 
rarious officers whom he wished to place over his estates, and 
selected magistrates for each city from amongst the wisest of 
its inhabitants. He also put the private affairs of his house 
hold in order, and specially recommended his dear Elizabeth 
to the care of his mother, his brothers, and his officers. " I 
know well," said the steward to him, "that my lady the 
Duchess will give away all that she can, and reduce us to 
misery." To which Louis replied "that it was equal to 
him, for that God knew how to replace all that she gave 
away." Louis also went to visit all the convents of Eisenach, 
even those of the nuns ; asked the blessings of the religious, 
distributed to them abundant alms, and recommended himself 
to their prayers. Then he left Eisenach, accompanied by his 
wife, his children, his mother, and his brothers. He went 
first to Reynhartsbrunn, the monastery he loved beyond all 
others, and to which he was attached by the bonds of a spe 
cial devotion and a sweet familiarity. 

After having assisted at the office, he left the choir before 
the monks came out to receive the holy water, according to 
custom ; the good prince placed himself beside the asperging 
priest, and as each religious passed he embraced him affec 
tionately ; even the little children of the choir he raised in hi? 
arms and imprinted on the forehead of each a paternal kisa. 
Affected by so much goodness, the religious burst into tears, 
and nought was heard for some time save the smothered 
sound of sobbing occasioned by the sad thoughts of the ab 
sence of their protector. The Duke yielded to his emotioni 
and shed tears a dismal foreboding seemed to seize upon 
him, and he said, " It is not without reason that you weep, 
my dearest friends, for when I shall have gone away, rap* 



216 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

jious wolves shall attack you, and with their murderous teeti 
torment you cruelly. When you shall be unhappy, impov 
erished, you shall see that in me you have lost a defender 
and a sovereign whose like is not frequently found. But I 
an also sure that the Most High will open to you the boweli 
of His mercy, and this I beg of Him now, and for eveij with 
all my heart." 

Then he left them, but they followed him with hearts full 
of pious affection, and eyes bathed in tears. 

The Duke, still accompanied by all his family, went from 
Reynhartsbrunn to Schmalkalde, where he had appointed a 
meeting with all who were going to follow him to the Holy 
Land. It was there he was to take leave of his relations, his 
mother, his wife, and all who dwelt in his heart. As soon 
as he arrived he took his brother Henry aside and said to him, 
" I have done all that I could, with God s help, to walk in 
the way of salvation for my soul, and I know of nothing that 
could compromise it, if it be not, that I have not yet de 
stroyed, as my father ordered me, the castle of Eyterburg, 
which was built to the prejudice of the neighbouring convent. 
I beg of thee then, my gentle brother, not to forget razing it 
entirely, as poon as I shall have set out : that will tend to the 
salvation of thy soul." 

At length the feast of St. John the Baptist, the day fixed 
for the departure, arrived, and they were forced to say farewell 
It was in the midst of nobles come from the very extremities 
of his dominions, and in the presence of the people who 
pressed around to look for the last time on their beloved 
prince, that Loins parted from all he loved. 

He commenced by affectionately blessing his two brothers 
who were both weeping; he fervently recommended to them 
his mother, his children, and his Elizabeth. His little ones 
clung to his garments, embraced him weeping, and in their 
lafantint language bade him farewell. He could not restraii 



OF HU1CGA*T. 211 

hi* tears when kissing them, and when he turned towards hii 
belied Elizabeth, his grief and sobbing prevented him from 
sneaking to her. Then embracing her with one arm, and hi* 
mother with the other, he held them both pressed to his bo- 
win without uttering a word, and kissed them repeatedly 
wnile shedding abundant tears, for more than half an hour. 

At length he said, " My loved mother, I must leave thec, 
but thou hast in my place thy other two sons, Conrad and 
Henry. I recommend to thee my wife whose anguish thou 
seest." But neither his mother nor his wife would leave the 
object of their love, each clung to his side. His brothers and 
the other knights pressed round this sorrowing group. All 
hearts were moved all eyes were tearful, on seeing this pious 
ton, this faithful and tender husband striving to escape from 
the embraces of those he loved most in this world, in order 
to serve God at the peril of his life. The people mingled 
their sincere, though noisy grie with that of the princes and 
warriors. 

And it was not alone one family that experienced the grief 
of parting; there were in the crowd of Crusaders who were 
to accompany the Duke, many fathers, and husbands, and 
brothers, who wept and struggled like their sovereign in sep 
arating from their families and friends. Each one seemed 
to have deferred to this moment the painful trial. The Thu- 
ringians, the Hessians and the Saxons were there united by 
a common affection, as well as by the object of their expedi 
tion. So many ties could be broken only by a supernatural 
effort. On all sides were heard groaning and sobs, confused 
and whispering sounds, all commingled in the general agony. 

Meanwhile several men, who were either more masters of 
tneir hearts, or who were already far away from their friends, 
or who perhaps were alone in this world, having neither fa 
mily nor social bonds to break, were at this solemn moment 
governed only by the thought of the sacred character of thf 
10 



218 LIFE OF BT. ELIZABETH, 

enterprise which they were about to commence. These On> 
saders and pilgrims, whilst the others wept and lamented 
entoned hymns of thanksgiving to God for having deigned to 
permit them to go and combat for the honour of His holy 
name. The sound of these canticles mingled with the crie* 
of grief that were uttered on all sides, and thus were re-united 
by a sublime contrast, the height of joy inspired by the love 
}f the Lord, and the expressions of that deep grief which this 
love taught these good men to brave and conquer. 

When at length the Duke could detach himself from the 
amis of his mother, he was, as it were, imprisoned by hii 
knights who remained, and by the poor people to whom he 
was justly so dear ; each wished to detain him, to embrace 
him again, to take his hand or to touch his garments ; Louis 
with tearful eyes looked on but could not speak. It was by 
a great effort that he made way through them to the place 
where his courser waited ; having mounted him he rode into 
the midst of the Crusaders, and mingled his voice with theirs 
in chaunting their holy hymns. 

His beloved Elizabeth was still with him, for she would 
not be contented to bid him farewell at the same time with his 
other friends, but obtained permission to accompany him to 
the frontiers of Thuringia. They rode on, side by side, with 
hearts overwhelmed with sadness. No longer able to speak, 
the young Duchess could but sigh. They arrived at the fron 
tier, but she had not courage sufficient to leave him, so she 
made another day s journey, and then a second, led on by 
grief and love. At the close of the second day she declared 
that she would never leave him, but would go with him to 
the end. Yet it was necessary that she should leave him, 
and the divine Love, strong as death, conquered in these two 
noble and tender hearts the love of the creature. The lord 
de Varila came nigh to the Duke and said to him, " My lord 
the time has new arrived that our noble Duchess must leavt 



OT HUNGARY 211 

us " At these words both burst into tears, they embraced 
each other trembling with emotion, and sobbing with such 
anguish that the hearts of all present were moved. 

Meanwhile, the wise lord de Yarila insisted on their separ* 
tlon; but these two souls so long and tenderly united clung 
to each other with unspeakable love at this sad moment. 
Louis, however, conquered his heart, mounted his horse, and 
gave the signal for departure. He showed the Duchess a ring 
which he always used for sealing his private letters. " Eliza 
beth," said he, "0 thou dearest of sisters, look well upon 
this ring that I take with me. On the sapphire is engraven 
the Lamb of God with his banner ; let it be to thy eyes a 
sure and certain token for all that concerns me. He who 
brings thee this ring, dear and faithful sister, and tells thee 
that I am still alive, or that I have died, believe all that he 
shall say to thee." Then he added: " May the Lord bless 
thee, my dear little Elizabeth, beloved sister, my sweetest 
treasure. May the Lord preserve thy soul and thy courage ; 
may he also bless the child thou now bearest, we will do with 
it what we have already agreed upon. Adieu, remember our 
happy life, our fond and holy love, and forget me not in any 
of thy prayers. Adieu, I can no longer stay." And he rode 
away, leaving his beloved wife in the arms of her ladies ; she 
followed him a long time with her eyes, then almost heart 
broken, bathed in tears, in the midst of the lamentations of 
her companions, she returned to Wartburg, feeling in he* 
heart a sad foreboding that never again should she look upon 
him. Returned to her lonely home, she laid aside her royal 
robes, and with a sad presentiment, assumed the costume that 
ehe was never again to leave off that of a widow s mourn 
ing. 

<J In this age," says a pious Franciscan (le Pere Archange) 
who wrote the life of St. Elizabeth in the reign of Louif 
XIV., " in this age we see so little affection between married 



$20 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

people, even amongst those who appear to be pious, that wi 
may be astonished to see in so detached a princess, so much 
love for her royal spouse." We will not follow the good friar 
through the defence he thought himself obliged to make for 
this feature in the character of St. Elizabeth. We can saj 
of her what St. Bernard said of Mary, " Be not astonished, 
my dear brethren, that Mary has been styled a martyr in her 
soul ; to be surprised at it we should forget what St. Paul 
looked upon as one of the greatest faults of the Gentiles, that 
they were without affection." But it is sufficient for us to say, 
after the many details we have related, that of all the souls 
whom the Church has crowned with glory, not one has offered 
to our contemplation, in the same high degree, the model of a 
wife, as did St. Elizabeth. None other realised in such perfec 
tion, our idea of a truly Christian marriage. No one so enno 
bled and sanctified human love by giving it so high a place in 
a heart &o inflamed with the love of God, as did this young 
and noble lady. 

And this union of the lawful earthly affections with the 
most profound piety was not of rare occurrence in those times 
of strong and pure emotions. It would be a pleasurable and 
fruitful labour, and we may undertake it one day, to demon 
strate how, during Catholic ages, the most tender and pas 
sionate feelings of the human heart were sanctified and revi 
vified by faith, and how, while bending before the cross, 
purely human love derived exaltation and energy in the per 
manent victory of Christian humility over pride and selfish 
ness. Feelings less varied, less extended, less refined, per 
haps, than at present, were then far deeper ; and wnen once 
Religion placed upon them her immortal seal, they manifested 
\ wonderful strength, and experienced an unspeakable trans 
figuration, in which were at once combined the calm of long 
attachment, the freshness of innocence, all the energy of 
passion with all the purity and simplicity of religion All 



OF HUNGARY. 221 

those who are acquainted with the historical and literary 
works of the middle ages, will appreciate the truth of thii 
assertion. 

Another characteristic feature of the moral and interior 
life of those times is the inseparable union of the most ardent 
affections with their legitimate consecration ; thus duty and 
religious obligation became essential elements of the passion 
ate emotions of the heart. In this, as in many other respect*, 
Elizabeth was an admirable and complete personification of 
the period at which she lived. 

That was also the age in which St. Louis cherished 
throughout his whole life, for his wife Margaret, the truthful 
and fervent tenderness of his early years. This great saint 
and great king showing the ring he always wore, whereon he 
had engraven these wordn, GOD, FRANCE, AND MARGUERITE, 
said with such exquisite simplicity, Horn cet anel n ai point 
cFamour," " Beyond this ring no love have I" In this cen 
tury, too, Edward I. of England erected the thirteen admirable 
crosses, whose remains are to this day reckoned amongst the 
wonders of Christian art ; each one of these was reared upon 
the spot where the bier of his beloved wife, Queen Eleanor, 
was rested during the procession of her remains from Gran- 
tham, where she died, to Westminster. 

This was without doubt the most magnificent funeral 
pomp ever celebrated ; but was it too great for the woman 
who, twenty years before, went to share with her husband the 
dangers of the Crusades, who, with her own lips, imbibed 
the poison from the wound that a Saracen arrow inflicted 
upon Edward, and who had thus saved his life at the peril of 
her own ? But a very remarkable circumstance, and one 
which we believe has not been properly appreciated up to this 
time, is, that this union is consecrated by fiction as well aa 
by truth, and the creations of imagination render to it af 
brilliant an homage as do the monuments of history. 



LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

All the poetry of this period, as well as previous to Eliza* 
beth s age, breathes the same spirit. It was not until aftef 
this time that any interest would be felt in the recital of the 
story of an unlawful love, or even one not consecrated by the 
Church. Marriage, or at least betrothal, should have takea 
place before Catholic souls would listen to the history cf two 
hearts as related by the poets ; love and interest, fat from 
concluding with marriage, as in modern novels, seemed bui 
to find in it their beginning. Conjugal fidelity was in a 
manner the inspiring principle of this beautiful poesy. 

The most animated and romantic scenes are those in which 
some married couples figure and this was not alone the case 
in the legends and the poems specially dedicated to reli 
gious purposes, but even the works apparently chivalrous 
and profane, bear the same stamp of the consecration of sen 
timent by duty. It is of woman as a faithful and pious 
wife that these poets trace the portrait in verses where she 
is pictured as almost divine, and seems to share in the tendei 
veneration they paid to MARY. In our national literature 
the touching and pure loves of Roland and his betrothed 
Aude, in the romance of Roncevaux ; the admirable historj 
of the misfortunes endured by Gerard de Roussillon, and hu 
wife, suffice to give us an idea of what our own poets have 
been able to deduce from these most Christian writings. 

In Germany, the adopted country of our Elizabeth, thi& 
style was even more general and more loved than elsewhere. 
We find the brightest and most popular examples in the 
Niebelungen, in Sigefroid and Chriemhilde, those souls so full 
of simplicity, truth, and devotion. This star of pure lovt 
which irradiates the most beautiful historical traditions, such 
as those of Henry the Lion, of Florentia, Gene vie ve of 
Brabant, Count Ulric, &c., is always the brilliant source of 
Inspiration of the grandest poems of the days of chivalry. 

Parseval is so enraptured at the sight of three drops of 



or HUNGARY. 223 

blood upon the snow, which reminds him of his wife s 
beauteous complexion, that he despises glory and the combat 
in order to contemplate them. 

The wife of Lohengrin, whenever her husband left her, 
swooned away, and remained insensible until his return. In 
the Tilurel we read that when a faithful husband and wife 
are re-united in death, from their common tomb spring forth 
two vines which intertwine with and sustain each other. 
Sweet and noble symbols of those holy affections implanted 
from Above, that give to the earth such lovely flowers, but 
tne fruits and rewards of which are to be found onlj ii 
heaven. 



224 LIFS OF ST ELIZABKTB 



CHAPTER XYI. 

HOW DUKE LOUIS DIED ON HIS WAT TO THE J jLY LAND. 

"Ooneummatus in brevi explevit tempora ninlta: plscita erun *rat De 
BHai : propter hoe properavit educere ilium de medio iniquitntuio." Sap. IT. 18, 14. 

Louis, after losing sight of his dear and sorrowing Eliza 
beth, soon regained the joyous and trustful energy which 
always distinguished the true knights engaged in those distant 
expeditions, and the holy cheerfulness that faith confers in th 
idea of the sacrifices made by, and the victories gained over, 
mere human feelings. 

He brought with him the choicest chivalry of his domi 
nions ; five counts, Louis de Wartberg, Guuther de Kefern- 
burg, Meinhard de Muhlberg, Henry de Stolberg, and Burk- 
hard de Brandeiiberg ; his cup-bearer, Rodolphe, Lord de 
Varila ; his marshal, Henry, Lord of Ebersberg ; his cham 
berlain, Henry, Lord of Fahnern ; his seneschal, Hermann de 
Hosheim, and a crowd of other barons and knights. The 
number of infautry that followed was small, owing to the 
great distance they had to travel. Five priests, amongst 
whom was the Almoner Berthold, who wrote the life of 
Louis, had the care of saying masses, hearing confessions, 
biid affording all spiritual consolations to these warriors duriut 
r ,he expedition. 

Besides the counts and lords who were his own vassal?- 
ijouis was accompanied by all the knights of Swabia, of 
Franconia, and from the banks of the Rhine, in his quality 
as commander-in-chief of the Crusaders of central Germany. 
We remark amongst them the name of Count Louis de Glei- 
chen, so renowned throughout Germany for his romaoti* 



OP HUNGARY. 221 

id ventures during this Crusade. A tradition supported by 
lenrned authorities relates, that having been taken prisoner 
in Palestine, and carried into Egypt, he was liberated by 
Melechsala, daughter of the soldan, on condition that h 
ihould marry her, though he had left his wife (born Countasi 
d Orlamunde) in Thuringia ; agreeable to his promise h 
brought his fair deliverer to his castle of Gleichen, where the 
two wives lived in the most perfect union, and on his tomb, 
in Erfurth Cathedral, he is sculptured in a recumbent posture 
between them. 

Provided with so good an army, the Duke traversed Fran- 
conia, Swabia, and Bavaria, crossed the Tyrolean Alps, and, 
passing through Lombardy, and Tuscany, went to join the 
Emperor at Apulia. This meeting took place at the city of 
Troja, about the end of August, 1227. The Emperor had 
assembled an immense force. Sixty thousand men were there 
encamped under the banner of the cross ; but an epidemic 
had already broken out amongst them, and delayed their 
embarkation. However, all was prepared ; the Landgrave 
held a secret conference with the Emperor to arrange in detail 
the plan of the expedition : for, notwithstanding his youth, 
no prince inspired with more confidence, both sovereign and 
people, than did Duke Louis. Immediately after this confer 
ence the two princes embarked at Brindisi, after having pre 
viously recommended to God their voyage, by solemn prayers, 
but no sooner did Louis set foot in the vessel than he felt 
himself seized with trembling and fever. 

After three days, the Emperor, being no longer able to 
endure the sea, landed at Otranto, where the Empress wa*. 
The Duke went with him, in order to pay a visit to the 
Empress with the usual ceremony, though a great number of 
his foHowers had continued their journey to Palestine. Mean 
while, Louis felt that his fever increased in violence, and it 
10* 



LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

was with difficulty he regained his ship, where he was imm* 
diately obliged to confine himself to bed. The sickness maA 
rapid progress, and all hope of recovery was soon abandoned. 
The Duke was the first who was aware of his danger ; he 
made his will, and sent for the Patriarch of Jerusalem to bring 
him the last sacrament. This prelate came, accompanied by 
the Bishop of Santa Croce, and administered to him Extreme 
Unction. 

After having confessed his sins with humility and great 
contrition, his knights assembled around his bed, and he 
received in their presence the " Bread of the Strong," with 
the most fervent devotion and an expression of the liveliest 
faith. 

W<j do not find, either in the narrative of his almoner, 
Trho was present at his last moments, nor in any of the his 
tories afterwards written, a single word that would lead us 
to believe that this holy and worthy knight felt the least 
regret on quitting this life. Neither his youth, in the flower 
of which he was carried to the tomb nor his country, far 
from which he died nor the power he nobly and so justly 
used nor his kinsfolk, nor his little children, whom he had 
yet scarcely time to know, nor even Elizabeth, whom he had 
so faithfully and tenderly loved, and loved only none of these 
blessings seem to have chained to the earth, even for a mo 
ment, this soul so eager for heaven. 

On the contrary, we learn that he was anxious to die, and 
the happiness of expiring under the banner of Christ, as it 
were, even in His service, after having sacrificed all for this, 
governed him exclusively, and left no place in his heart for 
any earthly remembrance or regret. As he had lived but for 
God, and in God, it seemed to him quite easy to die at the 
moment God willed it, and at the post assigned to him. 
Like a faithful soldier, he received unmurmuringly the signal 
which recalled him before the close of the fight. 



or HtraoART. 227 



He who Lad shed so many tears when leaving for a littl 
time his beloved family he who had torn himself with such 
bitter anguish from the wife whom he hoped soon to se 
again, had not for them, at this moment of complete and 
irreparable separation, a sigh or a tear. Truly he was right 
to mourn and weep when going far from her on earth, but at 
Heaven s gate this dear image could only be present to his 
mind as re-united and rejoicing with him in the future bliss 
of a glorious eternity. 

He charged some of the knights to go and announce hia 
death to his family, and to his dear Elizabeth, by bringing 
to her the ring he had shown her when parting, and which, 
as then agreed upon between them, was to be to her the 
token of all that concerned him. Then he requested all his 
men, in the names of God and our Lady, to remember him 
if they survived the dangers of their holy undertaking to 
bring back his remains to Thuringia, to inter them at Reyn- 
hartsbrunn, where he had chosen his burial place, and also 
never to forget him in their prayers. Some time before he 
expired, Louis saw a number of doves flying into the room, 
and fluttering around his bed. "Look, look/ said he, 
" upon these snow-white doves !" The bystanders thought 
he was delirious, but in a moment after he said, " I must fly 
away with those beauteous doves." In saying these words 
he plumbered in the Lord, quitted this mortal pilgrimage to 
enter the eternal country, there to take his place amongst the 
heavenly host, on the third day after the feast of the nativity 
of the Blessed Virgin, (llth Sept. 1227,) having just at 
tained his twenty-seventh year. 

As soon as he had breathed his last sigh, his almoner 
Berthold saw the doves of which he had spoken flying towards 
the east ; he looked after them for a long time, and felt not 
lurprised that the Holy Spirit who had descended on the Son 
if God in the form of a dove, should have sent angels in thir 



$28 LIFE OF St ELIZABETH, 

fair shape to conduct before the Sun of eternal justice thii 
young soul, which through its earthly pilgrimage had pre 
served its pure and dove-like innocence. To his face already 
BO fair, death added new beauty, and the attendants could 
not too much admire the expression imprinted on his pale 
features of firm faith, sweet peace, ineffable joy, with the deep 
and pure placidity of death. 

It was a bitter grief for those who had followed Louis so 
far, to see him die in all the prime of youth and valour, and 
to find themselves without a chief in this hazardous expedi 
tion. It was still more sad for those who had preceded him, 
who had not the mournful happiness of watching through his 
last moments, or of receiving his death sigh ; to these faith 
ful men was announced on the high sea, the loss they had 
suffered. 

The air resounded with their lamentations. " Alas ! dear 
lord," cried they, " alas ! good knight, why have you left us 
exiles in the country of the stranger ? How have we lost 
you ! you the light of our eyes, the leader of our pilgrimage, 
the hope of our after years 1 Woe, woe has fallen on us." 

The messengers returned, and in union with those who had 
remained on shore, they made a solemn oath to execute the 
last wishes of their beloved prince, in case they themselves 
escaped from the perils of the crusade. Meanwhile they 
solemnly celebrated his obsequies, an4 carefully burud hii 
body at Otranto. Then they resumed their journey in order 
fcc accomplish their TOW. 



F HUffOART 



CHAPTER XVII. 

9W THI DEAR ST. ELIZABETH HEARD OF THE DEATH OF HM 
HUSBAND, AND OF HER GREAT AGONY AND TRIBULATION. 

"Quo mihl avulsion ee? quo mlLi raptas e manibus, homo unantmis, born* 
euuduin cor meum ? amavlmus nos in vita : quomodo In morte snmus separatl ? 

Omnlno opus mortis, borrendum dlvortlum. Quls enlm tarn suavl vlncul* 

mntul nostrt non peperclsset amorls, nisi totius suavitatis Inimtca more?" St. 
Bernard in Oamt. Serm. 26. 

"Flebat Igltur irremediabilibua lacrymtft." Tob. r. 4. 

THE nobles whom Duke Louis had commanded at his last 
moments to go and announce his death in Thuringia, had a 
long and difficult journey to accomplish ; and the nature of 
the fatal news they had to carry did not tend to accelerate 
their speed. 

The young Duchess, during the interval that had elapsed 
since the sad event, had given birth to her fourth child, Ger 
trude, and could not see the messengers when they arrived. 
It was then to the Duchess-mother, and to the young princes 
Conrad and Henry, that they spoke of the bitter affliction by 
which they had been stricken. In the midst of the consterna 
tion which this news spread through the family and people o, 
the illustrious dead, pious and prudent men were occupied in 
preventing the effect it would have, if known, on the young 
mother, a widow, without being aware of her bereavement. 
Even Sophia s heart became maternal in its feelings towardi 
her whom her son had so dearly loved. She gave the most 
strict orders that no ore should give her daughter-in-law reason 
to suspect her misfortune, and took all necessary precaution! 
to have these directions faithfully attended to. 



230 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

But the appointed time bad elapsed since Elizabeth s re 
covery, and it was deemed fit to inform this fond and faithful 
wife of the grief God had willed her to endure, and it was the 
Duchess Sophia who was charged with this painful duty. 
Accompanied by several noble and discreet ladies she went to 
aer daughter-in-law s apartment. Elizabeth received them 
with respect and affection, and made them all sit around the 
couch whereon she was reposing, without being at all aware 
of the object of their visit. When they had taken their places, 
the Duchess Sophia said to her : " Take courage, my beloved 
child, and be not troubled by what has happened to your 
husband, my son, by God s will, for to that, you know, he was 
entirely devoted." Elizabeth seeing how calm the Duchess 
was, for she had spoken without weeping, had no idea of the 
extent of her misfortune, and imagining that her husband had 
been taken prisoner, she replied, " If my brother is in cap 
tivity, with the help of God and my friends he will soon be 
ransomed. My father will come to our assistance, and in a 
little time we shall be consoled." But the Duchess Sophia 
resumed, " my beloved child, be patient, and take this ring, 
for to our grief he is dead." " Ah mother ! what do you 
say ?" cried out the young Duchess. u He is dead," replied 
Sophia. At these words Elizabeth became pale and red by 
turns, and passionately clasping her hands, she said in a voice 
almost suppressed by strong emotion, " O Lord my God, 
my God, now indeed is the whole world dead to me, the world 
and all it contains of happiness !" Then rising she began to 
run distractedly through all the corridors and passages of the 
castle, crying out, "He is dead 1 He is dead I" In the 
refectory she was found holding by the wall, weeping bit* 
terly. The Duchess Sophia, and the other ladies who fol 
lowed, detached her from this position, made her sit down, 
nd used every effort to console her. She still wept, and her 
wordi were interrupted by continued sobbing. ** Now," said 



OF HUNGARY. 231 

she, " I have lost all I Oh my beloved brother ! Oh friend 
of my heart, my good and pious husband, how shall I live 
without thee ! Thou arfr dead, ana I am left in misery. 
Poor desolate widow, unhappy woman that I am I May He 
who forgets not the widow and the orphan console me 1 Oh I 
my God, comfort me ! Oh good Jesus, strengthen me in my 
weakness 1" Her ladies endeavoured to reconduct her to her 
chamber ; she yielded with tottering steps, and when she en 
tered it she fell on her face on the floor. They raised her and 
she renewed her lamentations. 

The Duchess Sophia also gave vent to her maternal grief, 
ard mingled her sorrow with Elizabeth s, as did also the 
m>ble matrons and maidens in attendance. Following their 
example, all the members of the Ducal household, all the in 
habitants of that Wartburg where Louis had spent almost the 
entire of his short life, indulged their grief, which they until 
then had suppressed, on account of the critical state of the 
young widow. The sight too of her unutterable anguish add 
ed still more to the impression produced by the irreparable losi 
of their beloved sovereign. Throughout the neighbourhood for 
eight days, nought was heard save sighs, and groans, and loud 
lamentations. 

But neither this general sympathy, nor any other solace, 
could calm the affliction of Elizabeth ; in vain she sought a 
remedy in her despair. " Nevertheless," says her pious his 
torian, " there was always near her an Omnipotent Consoler, 
the Holy Spirit, the Father of widows and orphans, the hope 
of the broken-hearted, who apportioned His trials to her 
strength, and who replenished her with His graces in filling 
up the measure of her affliction." 

And let us now look upon this dear saint, whom we be 
held, in her truly Christian union, endowed with the greatest 
happiness of this life, a widow at the a^e of twenty years ; 
the loving and beloved wife condemned henceforth to endow 



32 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

the painful trial of the solitude of the heart. It was not 
sufficient for the Divine Saviour of her soul to hare her 
initiated into the troubles of life, and exposed to the calum 
nies and persecutions of the wicked she had preserved invio 
late her tender confidence in Him. It was not enough to 
have tempted her by the display of royal grandeur, by the 
flattering homage of a brilliant chivalry, by the joyful and 
pure felicity of her wedded life. In the midst of all this 
happiness she had ever given the first place, in the secret of 
her heart, to the thought of heaven in her outward life, to 
the relief of her poor and suffering brethren. Yet all this 
was not sufficient to accomplish the designs of Divine Love ; 
it was necessary that before entering into the possession of 
celestial joys she who had relieved so much misery should 
become in her turn the most wretched and most neglected of 
creatures ; before beholding the eternal treasures she was 
.ondemned to die a thousand times daily to the world, and 
all the goods of this life. Henceforth, until the last hour of 
her mortal existence, ceaseless storms assail this frail plant ; 
but by a favour, wonderful to worldlings, but easily intelli 
gible to the friends of God, far from weakening or bending 
feebly to the earth, we behold her rising, and, as it were, 
budding forth on every side to receive the dews of heaven, 
and flowering with matchless splendour. 

If the loss of so loving a husband, and the severing of 
their holy union, did for a space plunge this predestined heart 
into an abyss of despair, new and bitter trials were sent 
to restore to it all its strength, its calm, ard its invincible 
ardour. 

If Elizabeth yielded for a moment, wounded by the loss of 
her earthly love, soon did she rise again to attach her heart 
to the throne of the Most High, by a chain of love divine, 
which nothing could destroy. 



OF HUNGARY 



According as she approached the end of her career, the 
exaltation of victory restored to her in some measure the 
tranquil courage that sustained her under her former sorrow! 
She was fortified by the presentiment and the hope of 
Viamph. 



834 LIFE Or ST. ELIZABETH 



CHAPTER XVIII 

OW TH1 DEAR ST. ELIZABETH WAS DRIVEN OUT OF HER CASTL1 
WITH HER LITTLE CHILDREN, AND REDUCED TO EXTREME 
MISERY, AND OF THfi GREAT INGRATITUDE OF MEN TOWARDS 
HER. 

"Pauporcula, temp-sstate convulsa, absque villa consolatione." 

Isaias, Book IL 
* Egentes, augustiati, afflicti, quibus dignus non erat mundas." 

Hebrews, xL 8T, 88. 

IN commencing the second part of Elizabeth s life with her 
twentieth year, we cannot refrain from warning the small 
number of readers who have followed us so far, that hence 
forth they will no longer find the purely human attractions 
and romantic interests of the preceding pages. It is no longer 
the young and loving wife, striving to mingle in her soul the 
worship of her heavenly Father with the most beautiful 
affections of the heart, that we present to them, but the peni 
tent devoted to all the rigours of the ascetic life, walking out 
of the beaten track open to the piety of the faithful in general 
uprooting from her soul, and extinguishing in her heart, 
all that prevented God from having full possession of her entire 
being. 

Elizabeth shall now be the modev of a Christian widow in 
the highest perfection of that character, daily more and more 
denuded of self, and arrived at length at a degree .f self 
abnegation and spiritual mortification, equally repugnant to 
human reason and the human heart, and requiring unniingled 
strength of faith to understand and appreciate virtues almost 
uperhuman. 

The sympathy by which we saw the young widow *o lately 



or HUNGARY. 285 

itirroniided, was neither long continued nor efficacious. In a 
very short time persecution and ingratitude added their bit 
terness to the sorrow that already tilled her heart. While 
abandoned to her grief, she remembered not that the govern 
ment of the country had devolved upon her since the death 
of her husband, owing to the minority of her son; and muny 
of her former enemies profited of the occasion to overwhelm 
her who had been stricken by the Most High, and to envenom 
the wound that God had inflicted. 

Duke Louis had, as we have before mentioned, two bro 
thers, Henry and Conrad ; these young princes were sur 
rounded by men, strangers to every feeling of justice and 
honour. These iniquitous counsellors strove to bias the 
Landgrave Henry, surnamed Raspon, and to engage him, 
under pretence of seeking his own interest, in a base conspi 
racy against his pious sister-in-law. They represented to 
him tnat according to an ancient law of the country of Thu- 
ringia, the principality should remain undivided in the care of 
the elde.st prince of the royal family, who alone might marry; 
if the younger members wished to take wives, the most they 
could obtain, as appanages, would be some estates ; they 
would be obliged to descend from their rank as counts, and 
always to remain vassals to their elder brother; that conse 
quently it was of the highest importance for him (Henry) to 
establish himself as the head of the family, to seize upon the 
sovereign authority, to put away the young Hermann, son of 
Duke Louis, and to get married, in order that the dominions 
might remain with his descendants. They dared not, it seems, 
advise him to put the rightful h iir to death, but they insisted 
Miat h i should expel his brother s widow, with her children, 
including the little Hermaui, not only from the royal resi 
dence of Wartbourg, but also from Eisenach, and from all 
the Ducal possessions. " If, by chance," added they, " thii 
child lives, he will, on ai riving at manhood, be even too 



286 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

happy to receive one or two castles for his portion." In :b 
mean time they thought it well to put him out of sight, and 
for this it became necessary to dispossess his mother, whom 
they called " the prodigal and bigoted Elizabeth." 

Henry had the misfortune to allow himself to be seduced 
by these wicked counsels. "Justice and honour," says an 
old poet, " fled from his heart, and he declared war against 
the widow and the orphans he had sworn to protect." Hi* 
young brother Conrad also allowed himself to be won over tc 
join him; and strong with their double consent, the wicked 
courtiers hastened to the Duchess Elizabeth, to signify to her 
the will of their new master. They found her with her 
mother-in-law, the Duchess Sophia, with whom a common 
grief had more closely united her. These brutal men heaped 
upon her innumerable insults they reproached her with 
having ruined the country, wasted and exhausted the state 
treasury, deceived and dishonoured her husband, and an 
nounced to her that for punishment of her crimes she was 
deprived of all her possessions, and that Duke Henry, who 
was henceforth to be the sovereign, had commanded her to 
quit the castle immediately. 

Elizabeth, astonished at these insults, and at this message, 
humbly asked these relentless enemies to grant her at lea:,! 
some longer time for preparation. The Duchess Sophia, 
irritated by the conduct of these men, took her daughter-in- 
law in her arms, and cried out, " She shall remain with me, 
and no one shall dare to take her from me. Where are my 
sons ? I wish to speak to them." But the messengers replied, 
" No, she must leave this place at once," and they began to 
separate forcibly the two princesses. 

Seeing that all resistance was vain, the Duchess Sophia 
wished at least to accompany the sorrowful Elizabeth to the 
outer gate of the castle. The wicked ones in power refused 
the deposed sovereign permission to take any property awmj 



OF HUNGARY. !i3? 

with her; but she found in the court-yard her little children, 
and two of her maids of honour, who were expelled at the 
same time, and to whom we owe the recital of this sad 
scene. When they arrived at the castle gate, Sophia again 
embraced Elizabeth, and wept bitterly at the idea of parting 
with her. 

The sight of the children of the beloved son she had lost, 
of these orphans condemned to share the fate of their guilt 
less mother, redoubled the affliction and indignation of the 
Duchess Sophia. She again requested most earnestly to see 
her sons Henry and Conrad, feeling persuaded that they 
could not resist her supplications. But the base courtiers 
told her they were not there ; and indeed they had concealed 
themselves whilst their cruel orders were being executed, 
for they were both afraid and ashamed to witness the 
prayers and tears of their mother, a. d the sad spectacle 
of the anguish of Elizabeth, whom they had so foully 
wronged. 

After having for a long time mingled her tears with those 
of her daughter-in-law, whom she still held clasped to her 
bosom, " Sophia, in whose soul," says the narrator, " the 
grief for the death of her son was renewed and augmented 
by the thought of the wickedness of the children who were 
spared to her, was, though suffering intense sorrow, obliged 
to oart with Elizabeth." 

The gates of the castle where the young Duchess had 
reigned so many years were closed behind her. In that 
court-yard, where the flower of n r ble knighthood had assem 
bled before setting out for *ae tomb of Christ, there was 
not found one to fulfil the first duty of chivalry, and tc offer 
an asylum or succour to the widow and the orphans. This 
laughter of a royal race descended on foot and weeping by 
the rugged and narrow pathway that led to the city. She 
harself carried her new-born infant, the other three childrei 



238 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

followed with her two faithful companions. It was mid-wiLteT 
and the cold was very severe. 

Arrived at the foot of the mountain, and having entered 
the city of Eisenach, which she had, as it were, inundated with 
the everflowing stream of her charity, a new and painfu! 
trial awaited her. Duke Henry had caused a proclamation 
to be made in the city, that whoever would receive the 
Duchess Elizabeth or her children should thereby incur his 
displeasure ; and with an ingratitude far more revolting than 
the cowardly baseness of the order, all the inhabitants of 
Eisenach obeyed it : perhaps also, the remembrance of bene 
fits received, which weighs so heavily on vulgar souls, Lad 
extinguished in them all feelings of humanity, pity, and 
justice. In vain did the unhappy princess go, always sur 
rounded by her little ones, weeping and knocking at every 
door, even to the hcases of those who had formerly testified 
the greatest attachment to her, but nowhere was she ad 
mitted. 

At length she came to a miserable tavern, whence the 
owner neither could nor would send her * way, for she declared 
that his house was open to every one, and that she would 
remain there. " They have taken from me all that I had," 
said she weeping, " now I can but pray to God 1" The inn 
keeper assigned as a resting-place during the night, for her 
self, her children, and her maidens, a miserable out-house, 
wherein he kept his kitchen utensils, and where also hf 
lodged his swine. These he drove out to give their place to 
the Duchess of Thuringia, the royal princess of Hungary. 
But as if this lowest depth of humiliation had suddenly 
restored peace to her soul, no sooner did she enter this un 
clean spot, than her tears were dried np, and supernatural joy 
descended upon and penetrated her whole soul. She remained 
in this state until midnight, when at that hour she heard 
the bell ringing for matins at the Franciscan convent thai 



or HUNGARY. 239 

she had founded during her husband s lifetime. She imme 
diately arose, and went to their church, and after having 
assisted at the office, she begged of them to chaunt the Ti 
JJeum, in thanksgiving to God for the tribulations he had 
sent her. 

Her ardent piety, her absolute submission to the Divine 
will, the holy joy of her soul which her heavenly Father had 
deigaed to try by suffering, her old love for evangelical pov 
erty, resumed again their sway, never more to lose it. Pros 
trate at the foot of the Altar, during the darkness of that sad 
night, while the song of triumph, so incomprehensible to the 
world, ascended to heaven, she edified her faithful followers 
by the fervour and humility of the aspirations of her soul to 
God. 

Aloud she thanked Him that she was poor and despoiled 
of all as he was at the crib of Bethlehem. " Lord," said 
she, " may your will be done 1 Yesterday I was a Duchess 
with strong castles and rich domains ; to-day I am a mendi 
cant, and no one would give me an asylum. Lord ! if I had 
better served you when I was a Sovereign, if I had given 
more abundant alms, I would now rejoice at it unhappily it 
has not been so." 

But soon again the sight of her poor children weeping 
from cold and hunger, renewed the anguish of her heart. " I 
have merited this," said she, with great humility, " I have 
deserved to see them suffer thus, and I repent sincerely. My 
children are born of royal race, and behold them hungry, and 
rithout even a bed to lie on. My heart is pierced with sor 
row on their account ; as for me, my God, you know that 1 
*m unworthy to be raised by you to the state of holy pov 
erty." Elizabeth remained sitting in this Church during 
the remainder of that night and part of the next day, until 
the intensity of cold and the pangs of hunger endured by her 
children obliged her to go out again and to beg for some food 



240 LIFE or ST. ELIZABETH, 

and a lodging. She wandered a long time in vain through 
this town where so many persons had been supported, cared 
for, cured and enriched by her ; at length a priest, very poor 
himself, had pity on the holy and royal sufferer, and braving 
the wrath of the Landgrave Henry, he offered his humble 
dwelling to the widow and children of his deceased sovereign. 

Elizabeth accepted his charitable kindness with gratitude, 
and he prepared for his guests beds of straw, and entertained 
them as well as his great poverty permitted ; but to obtain 
sufficient nourishment for her children, Elizabeth was obliged 
to pledge whatever articles of value were on her person at 
the moment of her expulsion from Wartburg. 

However, as soon as her persecutors learned that she had 
found a roof to shelter her, they sent her an order to go and 
lodge with a lord of the court, one of her bitterest enemies, 
who possessed in the town of Eisenach a very large mansion. 
Yet this unworthy man reluctantly assigned to her a narrow 
chamber, where he shut her up with her family, treated he? 
with the utmost rudeness, and refused all food and fuel ; his 
wife and servants imitated his base example. Elizabeth 
passed the night in this prison, still in anguish at the sight of 
her poor children, almost perishing with cold and in danger 
of starvation. 

The next morning she resolved to remain no longer under 
his inhospitable roof, and on going away she said, " O walls ! 
I thank you for having during the past night protected me 
against the wind and rain. I would also from my heart 
thank your master, but in truth I know not for what." 

She sought again the miserable dwelling wherein she had 
remained during the first night of her sorrows ; it was the 
only one her enemies did not envy her. She spent the greater 
part of the days, and even of the nights, in the Churches. 
" From these at least no one can drive me," she would say, 
"far these are God s holy dwellings, and He alone if my 



Of HUNGARY. 241 

Host." But the misery to which she was reduced brought 
Btill another trial, and one far more grievous to her heart 
than any she had yet endured; she who had gathered together 
and lavished on so many poor foundlings and orphans th 
treasures of her mercy with more than a mother s tenderness, 
now found herself obliged to separate from her own loved 
children ; and in order that they should not have to suffer 
with her in their early age the woes of poverty, she was 
obliged to deprive herself of her only remaining consolation. 
Some friendly persons, whose names have not been preserved 
by history, having heard of the state to which she was reduced, 
offered to take charge of her little ones, and she was obliged 
to consent to their removal, as it was impossible for her to 
provide them with sufficient sustenance. 

But above all, says a contemporary historian, what made 
her decide on this separation, was the fear of being induced 
to sin against the love of God when considering the sufferings 
of these beings so ardently loved by her, for, said he, she loved 
her children to excess. They were then taken away and con 
cealed separately in distant places. Assured of their safety, 
she became most resigned to her own fate. Having pledged 
any valuable article she possessed, she strove t? earn a liveli 
hood by spinning. Though fallen into such utter destitution, 
she could not forget her custom of helping the unhappy, BO 
she retrenched some portion from her meagre repasts in order 
to have some little alms to give to the poor people whom 
she met. 

So heroic a patience, such unalterable sweetness, seem to 
have calmed the fury of her powerful persecutors, but did 
not suffice to restore pity or gratitude to the inhabitants of 
Eisenach. We have not been able to discover a single trait 
of compassion or sympathy on their part, amongst the many 
narratives that remain of these interesting ciicumstances. They 
appear on the contrary but to demonstrate how true it ia that 
11 



942 LIFX OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

ingratitude, like all the vile passions of the human soul, cai 
silence remorse and stifle the remembrance of benefits received, 
only by adding to the first ill returns new excesses of base 
ness There was, amongst others at this time, in Eisenach, 
an old beggar womaL who suffered from many grievous ma 
ladies, and who had been for a long time the object of the 
tenderest and most minute care, and a recipient of the boun 
teous liberality of the Duchess, who was at this time almost 
reduced to mendicancy. One day as Elizabeth was crossing 
a muddy stream that still runs through one of the streets of 
Eisenach, and in which some stones were placed to enable 
persons to get over, she met this same old woman, who would 
not only not make way for her, but advanced at the same 
time upon the stepping-stones, and rudely pushed the young 
and feeble woman, and threw her at full length into the muddy 
water. Then adding derision to this base ingratitude, the 
old wretch cried out, " There thou liest; whilst thou wert 
Duchess thou wouldst not live as one; now thou art poor 
and lying in the mud, from which I will not strive to lift 
thee:" 

Elizabeth, always patient and gentle, arose as well as she 
could, and began to laugh at her own fall. " This is for the 
gold and precious stones I wore long ago," said she ; and then, 
says her historian, she went full of holy resignation and pure 
joy to wash her soiled robes in a well hard by, and to bathe 
her patient soul in the blood of the Lamb. Arrived at this 
part of his narrative, a pious and kind religious whom we 
have before quoted, cries out, " Oh my poor dear St. Eliza 
beth, 1 suffer even more from thy misery than thou didst; I 
am far more indignant and inflamed with a just wrath against 
these ungrateful and pitiless persons than thou wert. Oh, 
if I had been present, how I would have welcomed thee, thee 
and thine, from my heart ! With what love would I hart 



OF flUNGARf. 548 

carc>d for thee and provided for all thy wants ! Let at least 
my good will be agreeable to thee, and when the dreadfnl day 
comes when I shall appear alone and abandoned by the world 
before God, deign to come and meet me, and to welcome me 
to the eternaJ 



244 LIFE OF IT. ELIZABETH, 



CHAPTER XlA. 

OW TH1 ALL-MERCIFUL JESUS CONSOLED THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH M 
HER LONELINESS AND MISERY, AND HOW THE SWEET AND MOST 
CLEMENT VIRGIN MARY CAME TO INSTRUCT AND FORTIFY HEB. 

"Ego, ego ipse consolabor TOO." Is. It 12. 

" Et absterget Deus omnem iacrymam ab oculis eorum." 

Apocal. vil. IT. 

IN the midst of so many tribulations, Elizabeth never for 
a moment forgot that they proceeded from the hand of God. 
Never did a murmur or complaint arise in her heart. On the 
contrary, she devoted herself to prayer and to all the pious 
practices which the Church in her maternal generosity offers 
to afflicted souls ; she incessantly sought the Lord, and he did 
not disappoint her. He visited her soul with a father s ten 
derness, and rendered the trials she had so willingly accepted 
the sources of ineffable consolations. He who has promised 
o his elect that He would wipe away the tears from their 
>ves, could not forget his humble servant prostrate before 
iiiiw enduring all the sadness that could overwhelm a human 
being. Not only did He dry up her tears, but He unsealed 
her eyes and permitted her to enjoy a foresight of the eternal 
glory in which her place was already marked out. 

Whilst she prayed night and day at the foot of the Altar, 
blessed visions and frequent revelations of celestial beauty and 
mercy came to strengthen and refresh her spirit. Ysentrude, 
the best beloved of her maids of honour, who never left her, 
and who willingly endured poverty for her sake, after having 
shared in her grandeur, related to the ecclesiastical judges all 
the remembrances she had preserved of these wonderful con- 



OF HUNGARY. 246 

gelations. She often remarked that her mistress fell into * 
*ort of ecstasy for which she could not at first account. O*H 
day in particular, during the I>nt, the Duchess went to Mass 
and was kneeling in the Church ; suddenly sne leant againsl 
the wall, and remained for a long time absorbed in deep con 
templatiou, and apparently elevated above the actual life, hei 
eyes immoveably fixed on the Altar until after the Comma- 
nion. When she came to herself her face wore an expression 
of extreme happiness. Ysentrude, who had carefully watched 
all her movements, profited of the first opportunity to request 
her to reveal the vision she undoubtedly had. Elizabeth, 
quite joyful, replied to her, " I have no right to relate to men 
what God has deigned to reveal to me, but I will not conceal 
from thee that my spirit has been replenished with wonderful 
consolation, and that the Lord has permitted me to see with 
the eyes of my soul His admirable secrets. " 

After the last blessing she returned to her miserable dwell 
ing, where she took a very slight refection, and feeling herself 
quite overcome with weakness and weariness, she lay down 
upon a bench near a window, and rested her head upon the 
bosom of her dear and faithful Ysentrude, who thought that 
the Duchess was ill, and that she wished to sleep; but though 
lying thus, she kept her eyes open, and fixedly regarded the 
heavens. Very soon Ysentrude saw her face becoming ani 
mated; a celestial serenity, an unspeakable joy beamed upon 
it, and she smiled most sweetly and tenderly. But in a 
little time after her eyes closed, and she wept bitterly; again 
they opened, and the joyous smile re-appeared, but only to 
give way again to floods of tears, and thus she remained 
until the hour of Complin, alternately in gladness and grief, 
but the former feeling predominating, her head still reposing 
on the bosom of her friend. Towards the close of this silent 
ecstasy, she cried out with extreme tenderness, " yes, 
Lord, if Thou wilt be with me, I will be with Thee, and 



846 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

will never leave Thee." A moment after she recovered COB- 
Rciousness, and Yseutrude begged of her to tell why she had 
thus by turns smiled and wept, and to explain to her the 
neaning of the words she had uttered. Elizabeth, always 
irofoundly humble, would fain keep silence as to the grace* 
he had received from God, but, yielding to the prayen 
of her who had loved her so long, and served her so devotedly 
she said, " I have seen the heavens opened, and our Lord, 
the all merciful Jesus, has deigned to humble Himself so far 
as to appear to me, and to console me for the many tribula 
tions I have Buffered. He spoke to me with extreme gentle 
ness; He called me His sister and His friend; He showed 
unto me His dearest mother Mary, and His beloved apostle 
St. John, who was with Him. At the sight of my Divine 
Saviour I was overjoyed ; sometimes He turned as if to go 
away, and then I wept because I was not worthy to see Him 
for a longer time. But He, having had pity on me, showed 
me again his radiant countenance, and said, " Elizabeth, if 
thou wilt be with Me, I will remain willingly with thee, and 
will never be separated from thee," and I immediately replied, 
" Yes, yes, Lord, I am willing to remain with Thee, and 
never to be separated from Thee neither in happiness nor in 
misery." 

And thenceforward these divine words became engraven 
in her heart, and illumined it with celestial light. In this 
sacred compact and affectionate union with Jesus the God of 
Peace, the Father of the poor and the unhappy, she saw, as it 
were, the end of her widowhood, and a new and indissoluble 
lliance with an immortal Spouse. And this was not the only 
time that this Divine Spouse manifested to her in a sensibl 
manner his tender and watchful care. 

One day she had been the victim of her persecutors by 
suffering some insult, the nature of which is unknown to us, 
but it was one so flagrant that her soul, usually so patient, 



OP HUNGARY 241 

was quite disturbed by it, and she sought for comfort in 
prayer Bathed in tears, she begged of the Lord to confer 
on her enemies a blessing for every injury they had inflicted 
on her. 

As she was beginning to lose her strength from praying sc 
long in this manner, she heard a voice saying to her, " Neve> 
didst thou offer me any prayers more agreeable than these ; 
they have penetrated to my heart, and for them I forgive 
thee all the sins thou didst ever commit in thy life." And 
then she heard the enumeration of all her sins, the voice 
saying, "I forgive thee such and such a sin." Elizabeth 
astonished, cried out, "Who are you who speak to me iR 
this manner?" to which the voice replied, "I am He at 
whose feet Mary Magdalene knelt in the house of Simon the 
Leper." 

On another occasion as she was regretting that she could 
not confess to her uswal spiritual director, the Lord appointed 
to her as confessor the saint whom she had especially preferred 
from her childhood, and whom she had always tenderly loved. 
St. John the Evangelist. The apostle of charity appeared 
to her ; she confessed to him with a more faithful remem 
brance of and a greater contrition for her sins than ever she 
had felt in her life before. He imposed upon her a penance, 
and addressed to her exhortations so efficacious and tender, 
that her physical ills seemed to be alleviated, as well as the 
Bufferings of her soul. 

In frequent contemplations, Elizabeth was permitted to 
penetrate into even the most minute details of the bitter 
passion of Christ. Once, as she prayed with fervour, she 
saw, interiorly, a hand extended before her of resplendent 
whiteness, but very thin, and with long and taper fingers, and 
in the middle of the palm a deep scar ; by this last sign she 
knew it was the hand of Christ, and was astonished at seeing 
it so emaciated. The voice, with which she was now f 



248 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

miliar, replied to her thought, " It is because I was exhausted 
during the night by vigils and prayers, and during the day 
by my journeys through cities and country places, preaching 
everywhere the kingdom of God 1" 

Again, she saw the clotted blood about the wound in the 
side of Jesus crucified, and wondering that it was not more 
liquid and pure, the same voice answered her that this appear 
ance was the effect of the fearful sufferings that the Son of 
God endured whilst hanging on the cross. 

All these wonderful visions tended to excite in Elizabeth s 
gentle soul, an excessive contrition for her sins, the expiation 
of which had caused such bitter pangs to the sovereign Yic- 
tim ; as she one day shed abundant tears whilst meditating 
on this subject, her Divine Consoler appeared to her and said, 
" Grieve no longer, beloved daughter, for all thy sins are for 
given thee ; I have suffered in every member, and every part 
of soul and body by which thou couldst offend thy Cre 
ator ; know that thou art free from all stain." " If I am 
thus sanctified," said Elizabeth, " why can 1 not cease offend 
ing you?" "I have not sanctified thee so far," said the 
voice, "that thou couldst sin no more, but I have given thee 
grace to love me so ardently that thou wouldst rather die 
than commit sin." 

Nevertheless, the humble soul of Elizabeth, far from be 
coming self-confident by these signal favours of her God, 
seemed only to have found in them a new motive to despise 
herself, to mistrust her strength, to exaggerate her unwor- 
thiness in her own eyes Whilst she nobly trampled under 
foot the exterior trials and cruel persecutions of which she 
was the object, she found within herself, in the scruples and 
terrors excited by her humility, an abundant source of afflic 
tion. But God, to whom alone she had offered her life and 
her heirt, watched over this precious treasure; and, as if He 
frilled that she should experience successively all the consola- 



OF HUWGART. 

tions which are the inheritance of the children of predilection, 
as if He intended that she should be more and more closely 
united by ties at once the most sweet and powerful, Ha 
charged Her whom we daily call upon as the Health of the 
Weak, the Refuge of Sinners, the Couofortress of the Afflicted, 
to heal all the wounds of this young soul, languishing and 
desolate, even with an excess of love, arid that this excess 
almost led into faults against the blessed virtues of Faith and 
Hope. The Queen of heaven became henceforward the dis- 
pensatrix of all the graces that her divine Son wished to pour 
forth on this creature predestined from her cradle. Mary 
had for our Elizabeth the condescending affection that she 
showed to St. Bridget, and to many illustrious saints in the 
memory of Christians. She appeared several times to instruct, 
enlighten, arj fortify her in the path wherein God willed she 
should wall* She whom the Church names always Mother, 
Sovereign, Guide and Mistress of all men, disdained not to 
watch ov every step of this young and humble follower of 
her Son. The detailed traditions of these sacred confidences, 
gathered from the recital of Elizabeth herself, have been 
preserved to the Catholic people in the annals of the order of 
St. Francis, and still further in the documents gathered by 
the priceless labours of the learned Jesuits of Belgium, for 
the continuation of their lives of the saints. Owing to these 
precious manuscripts, we are enabled, even at this distance 
of time, to admire the sweet familiarity and maternal solici 
tude wherewith Mary sympathised with all the emotions that 
excited the tender, delicate, and scrupulous mind of Eliza- 
neth, and how this Help of Christians came to her assistance 
in those severe struggles so frequently endured by the souls 
of the elect. Thus we fear not to introduce here an abridg 
ment of these touching narratives, with confidence of the 
pious admiration which they should excite in every truly 
Catholic heart. 
11* 



950 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

Nothing could surpass the clemency which marked tht 
origin of these celestial communications. One day as th* 
afflicted widow sought, and as it were vainly, her Beloved in 
fervent and anxious prayer, she began to meditate on the 
causes of the flight of Jesus into Egypt, and earnestly wished 
that she could have them explained to her by some learned 
and holy monk. Immediately the Blessed Virgin appeared 
to her, and said, " If thou wilt be my pupil, I will be thy 
teacher ; if thou wilt be my servant, I will be thy mistress." 
Elizabeth, not daring to believe herself worthy of so much 
honour, said, " Who are you who ask me to be your pupil 
and your servant ?" Mary replied immediately, " I am the 
Mother of the living God, and I say unto thee that no monk 
could better instruct thee on what thou wishest to know than 
I could." At these words she extended her ha .ids towards 
the Mother of Mercy, who took them in hers an said, "If 
thou wilt be my child, I will be thy mother ; and when thou 
shalt be well instructed and obedient, like a goot pupil, a 
faithful servant, and devoted child, I will present thee to my 
Son. Avoid all disputes, close thine ears against all the ill 
that is spoken of thee. Remember that my Divine Sou fled 
into Egypt to escape the snares laid for him by Herod." 

Still so great a favour did not entirely tranquillize Eliza 
beth ; her mistrust of self increased every day, yet never more 
was she abandoned by the Mother who had adopted her. On 
the feast of St. Agatha, (5th February,) as she wept bitterly 
for her disobedience to the instructions of her divine mistress, 
this blessed Consolatrix appeared, and said, " My child, 
whence this violent affliction ? I have not chosen thee to be 
my child in order to do thee harm. Despair not, though thou 
hast not entirely observed my precepts ; I knew that thoo 
wouldst fail in some. Say once my Salutation/ and this 
sin will be forgiven thee." Some days later, on the feast of 
8t. Scholastics, (Feb. 10,) Elizabeth wept again, and wai 



OF HUNGARY. 251 

iobbiiig violently when her sweet Protectress came, accompa 
nied by St. John the Evangelist, the chosen patron of Eliza 
beth s childhood, and said to her, " Thou hast chosen me for 
thy mistress and mother ; thou hast given thv?elf to me, but 
I wish that this choice should be confirmed, and that is why 
I ha/e brought my beloved John." Elizabeth again joined 
her hniids, and placed them in those of the Queen of Heaven, 
like a vassal tendering homage to a sovereign, and said, 
"Noble lady, do with me what you please, for I am your 
servant;" then she confirmed this offering of herself by a vow 
of which St. John was the witness. 

One iiight, whilst Elizabeth recited the " Angelical Salu 
tation," she to whom this beauteous prayer is addressed ap 
peared, and, amongst other things said, " I will teach thee all 
the prayers that I used to say whilst I was in the temple. 
Beyond all else, I used to beg of God that I might love Him, 
and hate my enemy. There is no virtue without this abso- 
lute love of uod, by which alone the plenitude of grace 
descends into the soul ; but, after entering there, it flows 
away again unless the soul hates its enemies, that is to say, 
vice and sin. He then who would preserve this grace should 
endeavour to make this love and this hatred operate in his 
heart. I wish that thou wouldst learn to do as I did. I 
arose every night, and, prostrate before the altar, I begged 
of God to teach me to observe all his commandments, and to 
grant me tbxse graces most pleasing to Him. I supplicated 
Him to permit me to see the time wherein should live the 
holy viigik \\*bo was to bring forth His Son, that I might 
eonsecrate my whole being to serve and venerate her." Eli 
zabeth interrupted her to say, "0 most sweet Lady, were 
you not already full of grace and virtue?" But the holy 
Virgin replied, " Be assured that I thought myself as guilty 
and as miserable as thou thinkest thyself, that was w .y I 
prayed to God to grant me His ^race. The Lord," added 



252 LIT* OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

this blessed Queen, did with me what the skilful musician 
does with his harp disposing all its chords so as to produce 
the most harmonious sound. It was thus the Lord was 
pleased to adapt to His good pleasure my soul, my heart, my 
mind, and all my senses. Thus governed by His wisdom, I 
was often borne by the angels to God s presence, and then I 
experienced so much joy, and sweetness, and consolation, 
that this world was entirely banished from my memory. So 
familiar was I with God and His angels, that it seemed as if 
I lived always with this holy court. Then when it pleased 
the Almighty Father, I was again brought by the angels to 
the place where I had been praying. When I found myself 
again upon earth, and remembered where I had been, this 
thought so inflamed my soul with such a love of God, that I 
embraced the earth, the stones, the trees, and all created 
things through affection for their Creator. I wished to be 
the servant of all the holy women who dwelt in the temple ; 
I wished to be subject to all creatures through love for the 
supreme Father. Thou shouldst do this also; but thou askest 
thyself always, Why are such favours granted to me who 
am so unworthy to receive them ? and then thou fallest into 
a kind of despair and distrust of the goodness of God. Be 
careful not to speak thus any more, for it displeases God, 
who, like a good master, can confer his benefits on whom he 
pleases, and who, like a wise father, knows what is best 
suited to each child. In fine," said her heavenly instructress, 
in conclusion, "I have come to thee by a special favour; this 
night I am thine; ask what thou pleasest, I will answer all." 
Elizabeth dared not at first avail herself of this permission, 
but Mary having a second time exhorted her to speak, she 
asked, " Tell me, dearest lady, why you so ardently desired 
to see the virgin who was to bring forth the Son of God ?* 
The the blessed Mother related to her, how in seeking con- 
notation in the absence of the supernatural favours of wbick 



OF HUNGARY. 253 

he had spoken, she had been led, by meditating on the words 
of the prophets, to cherish this idea ; that she resolved te 
consecrate her virginity to God, in order that she might be 
worthy to serve that predestined virgin; and how, at length, 
God d< igned to reveal to her that she was the woman reserved 
for this high dignity. 

Some time after, as Elizabeth prayed with fervour, hei 
tender Mother appeared to her again, and said, " My child, 
thou thinkest that I received all these graces without trouble, 
but it was not so. Indeed I say unto thee that I did not 
receive a single favour from God without unceasing prayer, 
ardent desire, sincere devotion, many tears and trials. B 
certain that no grace comes to the soul without prayer, and 
the mortification of the body. When we have given to God 
all that we can from ourselves, however little it may be, He 
visits onr souls, and imparts to them these wonderful gifts, 
that make them feel how trifling are their efforts to please 
God. The soul then becomes in its own eyes more con 
temptible than ever. What then should this creature do? 
Render fervent thanks to God for these favours. When God 
sees the soul Irumble and thankful, He replenishes it with 
joys greater than its most ardent hopes could conceive. It 
was in this manner He acted towards me when He deputed 
His angel Gabriel to me. What did I then ? I knelt, and 
joining my hands humbly, I said, Behold the handmaid of 
the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word/ Then 
God gave me His Son, and with him the seven gifts of the 
Holy Ghost. And wouldst thou know why ? Because I 
believed in His word, and humbled myself before Him ; I 
tell thee these things, my child, that thou mayest correct 
thy failings in the virtues of Faith and Hope. When the 
Lord shall have promised any grace say, like me, Behold 
ttiy handmaid, and expect in firm faith the coming of that 
jrace, until the promise shall be accomplished. And if it 



254 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

comes not, say that thou bast committed some fault which 
has rendered thee unworthy of its fulfilment." 

During the vigil of Christmas, Elizabeth begged of the 
Lord to grant her grace to love Him with her whole heart ; 
fche Blessed among women appeared to her again and asked, 
"Who is it that loves God? Dost thou?" The humble 
Elizabeth dared not affirm that she did, and yet was unwilling 
to deny it. While she hesitated to answer, Mary continued : 
Dost thou wish that I should tell thee who loved Him. The 
blessed Bartholomew did, as likewise did St. John and Saint 
Lawrence. Wouldst thou, like them, endure being flayed 
alive, or burned for His sake ?" Elizabeth remaining still 
silent, Mary resumed : " Indeed I say unto thee, if thou wilt 
consent to be deprived of all that is dear, precious and love- 
able to thee, and even of thy own will, I will obtain for thee 
the same reward that Bartholomew received, when his skin 
was flayed off. If thou endurest insults patiently, thou wilt 
be like unto Lawrence when he suffered martyrdom ; if thou 
keepest silence when reproached and offended, thou wilt merit 
grace, as John did when the wicked sought to poison him , 
and in all this I will be near to instruct and fortify thee." 

One day, when at meditation, Elizabeth thought upon the 
prayers the holy Virgin had told her she made in the Temple, 
she asked herself, " Why did Mary seek for graces that never 
failed her." The Queen of heaven appeared, and answered 
her with gentle sweetness and familiarity. " I did," saitf she, 
" as a man who would wish to construct a fair founvain. 
He goes to the foot of a mountain, examines carefully whence 
springs the water, he digs until he finds the source, and then 
directs the stream to the spot wherein he would have his foun 
tain ; this place he constructs, so that the water must remain 
pure and fresh ; he surrounds his fountain with a wall, erecti 
a pillar, and all around he makes canals wherein the water 
may flow plentifully, for the comfort of all. Thus did I act 



01 HUNGARY. 25A 

1 went to tlie mountain when I began to study the Holy 
Law. I found the source, when I learned that to love God 
with tV whole heart was the origin of all good. I prepared 
the place, when 1 conceived the desire of loving all that He 
loved I willed that the water should be pure and clear, 
when I resolved to fly and hate sin. I surrounded it with 
walls, when I joined humility, patience and meekness, to the 
fire of charity. I erected the pillar and formed the canals, 
when I became, as it were, an universal refuge, for I am 
always ready to bring floods of grace and consolation from On 
High to those who invoke me for themselves or others. I 
Viave revealed to thee," said she in conclusion, " my beloved 
daughter, all the prayers that I used, in order that by my rx 
ample thou shouldst supplicate God in all confidence and hu 
mility for all thou requirest. Knowest thou why virtues are . 
not equally given to all men ? Because some know not how 
to ask them with such humility, nor preserve them with so 
much care as others ; that is why God wishes that he who has 
less should be aided by those who possess more. And I wish 
that thou shouldst pray fervently for thy own salvation and 
that of others." These wonderful interviews over, Elizabeth 
saw one day a tomb covered with flowers, out of which her 
sweet Consolatrix arose and was borne to Heaven by myriads 
of celestial spirits who conducted her to the arms of her divine 
Son. An angel came to explain to her this vision of the As 
sumption, which was granted as a favour intended to enable 
her to endure her present sufferings, and also to foreshow 
the glory which God had in store for her, should she per 
severe to the end faithful and docile to His divine will 

The humble servant of Christ, in relating these prodigies, 
Baid that she had seen and understood them in a manner so 
clear and convincing that she would rather die than deny their 
txiptence. 

It was thus that God even in this world rewarded Hii 



256 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

faithful servant He gave Himself as Spouse to the solitary 
widow, to the young and sorely afflicted woman. He gave 
to her as mother and mistress, Her, who is at once the mother 
of mercies and of sorrows. To the soul deprived of all earthly 
consolation, He even in this vale of tears opened the inexhaus 
tible and imperishable treasures of heaven 



W BUM GARY 97 



CHAPTER XX 

OW THl 3t EAR ST. ELIZABETH REFUSED TO MAJtRT A 8BCONP TIME, 
AKD HOW SHE CONSECRATED HER WEDD1NO S^KMENTS TO JB8UB, 
THE SPOUSE OP HER SOUL. 

" Ego dilecto meo, et dilectus raeua neihl ; qui pascitur inter lllia." Oant vl. *. 

" The true widow in the Church is a little violet of March, which sends forth u 
Incomparable sweetness by the odour of her devotion, and almost always keep* 
herself concealed under the broad leaves of her abjection ... . She grows in cool 
and uncultivated places, not willing to be importuned with the conversations of 
worldlings, the better to preserve the coolness of her heart against all the heats which 
the desire of riches, of honours, or even of fond loves might bring upon her." St. 
Francis de Sales, Intro, iii. 2. 

THE melancholy state to which this Princess of birth so 
illustrious, and connected with the most powerful houses of 
the empire, was reduced, could not fail to excite the compas 
sion and intervention of her relatives, as soon as it became 
known to them. The Ducness Sophia, after making many 
unsuccessful efforts to prevail on her sons to ameliorate the 
condition of poor Elizabeth, sent secretly to inform her aunt, 
Matilda, Abbess of Kitzingen, sister of the Queen of HuLgary, 
her mother, of her misfortunes. This pious princess was 
moved with compassion on hearing the sad tale, and sent at 
once faithful messengers, with two carriages, to seek for her 
niece and her children, and to bring them to the Abi^y. Eli- 
tabeth, overjoyed to be again with her little ones /<Lom she 
loved so ardently, accepted this invitation at onrr ; and it 
leems that her persecutors dared not to hinder he ec doing. 
80 she travelled through the vast forests and over Mae moun 
tains that separate Thuringi* from Franconia, until tht 
arrived at Kitzingen on the A?3in. 



258 LIFE OF ST ELIZABETH, 

The Abbess received her with maternal tenderness, and 
many tears ; she assigned her a lodging suitable to her rank, 
and strove by her kindness to make her forget the many suf 
ferings of soul and body which she had endured. But the 
voung Duchess found no sweeter consolation than in conform 
tiu- to the rule of the monastic life, and she often expressed 
i regret that the care of her children prevented her from en- 
f.ering the Order as a religious. Meanwhile Egbert, Prince 
Bishop of Bamberg, brother of the Abbess Matilda, of the 
Duchess Hedwige of Poland, of Queen Gertrude, and conse 
quently maternal nncle of Elizabeth, having heard of her suf 
ferings and of her arrival at Kitzingen, thought that her pro 
longed sojourn in the Monastery was neither suited to her 
position, nor to the customs of a religious house, so he invited 
her to his dominions. The gentle Princess obeyed, though 
perhaps with regret, leaving to the care of her aunt her se 
cond daughter Sophia, then scarcely two years old, who after 
wards took the veil in this abbey, which had served as an 
asylum to her mother, and which had been the cradle of her 
own childhood. The Prelate gave his niece a welcome, such 
as tended to convince her of his affection for herself, and of 
respect for her misfortunes. He proposed to conduct her to 
Hungary to the king, her father, but this she- refused, owing 
probably to the sad remembrance of the death of her mother, 
Queen Gertrude. The bishop then assigned to her the castle 
of Botenstein as a residence, this he furnished according to 
her rank, and provided eight domestics, over all of whom she 
might, rule as she pleased Hither then she went with her 
children, &ud her faithful maidens, Ysentrude and Guta, who 
had nobly shared in all her trials, and in this peaceful home 
they resumed by day and by night their practices of piety. 
But the Prelate, seeing that Elizabeth was very young, being 
only twenty years old, and besides of remarkable beauty- 
remembering the precept of St. Paul, he conceived the pw* 



OF HUNGARY. 260 

Jcct of re-marrying her. According to many authors, he 
wished that she should wed the Emperor Frederick II. f who 
bad just lost his second wife, Yolande of Jerusalem. The 
Emper?r himself was also anxious for this, according to the 
account of a contemporary writer. The Bishop went to com 
municate to the Duchess his design ; he told her that he 
wished to espouse her to a lord far more illustrious and power 
ful than her late husband. Elizabeth replied with great sweet 
ness, that she would prefer remaining single during the rest 
of her life, and thus to serve God alone. Her uncle main 
tained that she was still too young to embrace such a life, he 
reminded her of the persecutions she already had suffered, 
and showed her the possibility of their renewal after his 
death ; for though he resolved to leave her Botenstein and its 
dependancies, once in the tomb, he could not defend her from 
the attacks of her enemies. But Elizabeth wavered not. A 
French poet has preserved her answer : " Sire," said the 
beauteous and pious princess, " I had for lord a husband who 
most tenderly loved me, and who was always my loyal friend. 
I shared in his honour and in his power ; I had much of the 
riches, jewels, and pleasures of the world ; I had all these, 
but I always thought, what you, my lord, know full well, 
that the joys of this earth are worthless. For this reason I 
wish to abandon the wordly life, and to pay to God what I 
owe Him, the debts of my soul You know that mundane 
pleasures produce but pains and torments, and the death of 
the soul. Sire, I am eager to join the followers of our bless 
ed Lord. I ask but one thing on earth : I have two children 
of my late husband, wb j will be rich and powerful, (Hermann 
and the elder Sophia who were not destined to the monastic 
life,) I would rejoice and be grateful to God, if He loved me 
sufficiently, to take them to Himself." 

It does not appear that the Duchess then spoke of the vow 
of continence which she had made during her husband s life- 



260 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

time, in case of her surviving him, but she often mentioned 
it to her maids of honour, who had made a similar vow with 
her, and who feared that the Bishop would exert his power 
to annul it. She strove to inspire them with courage, by an 
assurance of her own perseverance under any circumstances 

" I have sworn," said she, " to God, and to my lord aid 
husband during his life, that never would I be the wife of any 
other man. God, who reads the heart and unveils its most 
secret thoughts, knows that I made this vow with a pure 
heart and a firm resolution. I rely on His mercy it is im 
possible but that He will defcnd my chastity against all the 
projects of men and against their violence. Mine was not a 
conditional TOW, made in case that it should please my parents 
and friends but a free, willing, and absolute one to conse 
crate myself entirely, after the death of my beloved husband, 
to the glory of my Creator. If they then, in contempt of the 
freedom of choice in marriage, espouse me to any man, I 
will protest against it before the Altar, and if I find no other 
means of escaping, I will cut off my nose, and thus render 
myself an object of horror to all." Still she was disquieted 
on this account, for from the firm will of the Bishop, she 
knew she would have many and severe conflicts to endure in 
order to remain faithful to God and her conscience. She was 
seized with a great sadness. She had recourse to the Supreme 
Consoler, and kneeling at His feet, oathed in tears, she begged 
of Him to watch over the treasure she had consecrated to 
Him. She also addressed herself to the Queen of Virgins, 
who had been given to her as a mother. Neither disdained 
her prayers, aud peace was restored to her soul. She soon 
felt quite tranquillized, and animated with boundless confi 
dence in the mercy of Heaven. 

It is doubtless to this time that the recitaJs of local tradi 
tions, relating to some journeys made by Elizabeth, refer, and 
these she undertook, either to escape the importunities of hef 



OF HCSTSART. 26) 

ancle, or to indulge seme motives of derotion or pioui 
curiosity. 

These causes would suffice in that age, notwithstanding 
the difficulty of communication, to make men travel more, 
than could, even in our day, the desire of accumulating 
riches or the restlessness of modern travellers. The poor, 
the infirm, even women yielded to the desire of praying in 
lome celebrated sanctuary, or of venerating the relics of some 
especially beloved saint to provide for their old age some 
sweet memories of pilgrimages made under the protection of 
God and of His holy angels. 

Elizabeth went twice to Erfurth, a town celebrated for 
the number and beauty of its sacred edifices, situated in the 
centre of her husband s dominions, though belonging to the 
Archbishop of Mayence. She here selected as her dwelling- 
place, a convent of penitent women, called White Nuns, and 
there she remained during several days in the most strict 
retreat. When leaving, she gave them the glass which she 
was wont to use at her frugal meals, which is still preserved 
there as a memorial of her goodness and humility. The 
convent is now occupied by a community of Ursulines, and 
they show a little room looking ovei the Church, which, it is 
said, was occupied by the dear St. Elizabeth. About this 
time, she also went to visit the dwelling of her maternal an 
cestors at Andechs, situated on a height near the Alps which 
separate Bavaria from the Tyrol. This ancient and famous 
Castle had been just converted by Henry, Margrave of Istria, 
also an uncle of Elizabeth, into a monastery of Benedictines, or 
according to others, of regular canons of St. A tigustine, which 
has since been rendered remarkable by the possession of some 
of the most precious relics in Christendom, and by the nume 
rous mirac es performed there Elizabeth came to associate, 
by hor presence, in the pious foundation which should forever 
tend to the honour of her family. From the fummit of thij 



LIFE 07 ST. ELIZABETH, 

holy mountain she contemplated Bavaria, then rich in tin 
double beauty of nature and religion full of celebrated mo 
nasteries, some hidden in the midst of the ancient forests 
others reflected in the calm waters of the lakes of that coun 
try all serving as nurseries of the Christian civilization of 
the land, and which for so many centuries still offered an h> 
violable sanctuary to science, a sweet, safe asylum to souls 
eager for repose and prayer, and a boundless hospitality to 
the numerous pilgrims who went by the northern kingdoms tc 
visit the tombs of the Apostles. How many times did our 
Elizabeth fix her eyes on the majestic chain of the mountains 
of the Tyrol, where every Catholic heart rejoices in thinking 
that beyond them lie Italy and Rome I 

Our dear Saint also contributed to the veneration with 
which this beautiful place was regarded. At the foot of 
the mountain by her prayers she obtained that a well of pure 
water, gifted with many healing qualities, should spring up, 
and so abundantly that it was never dry even during the 
most parched seasons. The pious princess also brought to 
this place, which had just passed from the protection of her 
family to that of the All-powerful God, a loved memorial of 
her married life, which, in the simplicity of her heart, she 
offered to the chosen Spouse of her soul. This was her wed 
ding robe even that worn by her on the day that saw her 
united to her well-beloved Louis. This she laid upon the 
Altar, and gave at the same time to the religious a little sil 
ver cross containing some relics of the instruments of the pas 
sion ; her Pax or the Reliquary she always carried with her, 
and several other matters which were dear to her. 

A few years passed by, and the name of the young widow, 
whom we have seen coming as an humble pilgrim to offer her 
gifts at this newly-formed sanctuary, filled the Christian world 
with its glory, and the hand of God s vicegerent on earth in- 
cribed it amongst the blessed ones of Heaven. Can wt W 



or 

astonished if thenceforth the presents of this Saint should 
become to this sacred place, priceless treasures, and that even 
to this day, notwithstanding past stormy and gloomy years, 
the simple and faithful people still come to venerate and kisi 
them with respectful love. 

NOTE BY THE COUNT MONTALEMBERT. 

The monastery of Andechs on the occasion of the secular 
ization of all the possessions of religious orders by king Max 
imilian of Bavaria in 1806 was sold to a Jewl yet the Church 
and its treasury of relics have been preserved. The wedding 
robe of Elizabeth serves there as a covering to three miracu 
lous Hosts. On the principal festivals of the year, a number 
of pilgrims meet there, and the inhabitants of the neighbour 
ing villages come processionally, chaunting Litanies. An 
dechs is about eight leagues from Munich, near the lovely 
lake Staremberg. From the height on which the Church ia 
built, the eye embraces the entire chain of the Tyrolian Alps. 
Few places in Germany are more worthy the visit of the 
Catholic traveller. Those who can go there, are requested 
to remember before God s Altar, the author of this book. 

NOTE. The translator entreats the pious pilgrim to the 
Holy Shriue at Andechs, to pray also for her, and all thoM 
he hold* dear. 



S64 LIFE tit ST. ELIZABETH. 



CHAPTER XXI 



IOW THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH RECEIVED THE REMAINS OF BN 
flUSBAND, AND HOW THEY WERE INTERRED AT REYNUARTSBR.JNN. 

Benedict! rod Domino, qui feclstis mtserlcordtam bane cam Domino vestro, M 
-*pelistip earn." 2 Reg. il. 5. 

K^iiU in tlt>1 Iftbtt Doinimis semper, et implebit splendorlbus anim&in ttuua, 
et inssa tua ilberablt." /*. Iviii. 2. 



CK .Y had Elizabeth returned to Botensteiu when a 
r from the Bishop came to request her presence at 
Uamber<4, <u order to receive the remains of her husband 
*"hi. h hi- Thaiingian knights, after their return from the 
Ynsntje. w, i bringing there 

A^ we have already seen, the companions of the late Duke, 
after having left his body at Otranto, set out for Syria in or 
der to accomplish their vow. Those amongst them who were 
able to reach Jerusalem, offered there gifts and prayers for 
his intentions, as he had requested them on his death-bed. 
On their return from the pilgrimage, they passed through 
Otranto in order to bring home the body of their Sovereign. 
They disinterred him, and found that his bones were white as 
snow, a sure sign in that age that the husband had preserved 
an inviolate fidelity to his wife. 

After having placed these relics in a rich coffin, they laid 
it on a hearse and set out for their own country. Before the 
bier was a large silver cross, inlaid with precious stones, as a 
mark of their own piety and of their devotion to their master. 
In every city where they passed a night, they brought the 
bier into a Church, and had it watched by monks or other 



OF HUNG ART. 266 

pious persona, chaunting the office of the dead and other 
prayers. 

They departed not next day until they had heard Mass 
and made their offerings. If it were at a Cathearal or Con- 
reiitual Church, they left the purple drapery that enveloped 
;he coffin, that its worth might be distributed in alms for the 
repose of the good prince s soul. In man s memory were 
never witnessed more solemn obsequies. 

The mournful cortege thus traversed all Italy and southern 
Germany. When arrived at a short distance from Bamberg, 
they sent to warn the Bishop of their approach, and he im 
mediately summoned the Duchess from Botenstein. At the 
<ame rime, lie ordered all the nobles and dignitaries of his 
ourt to meet her with befitting sympathy, and to watch 
rarei ii ly over her, lest, during the affecting ceremony of the 
next ilav her strength might abandon her. He then went 
out to meet the body, accompanied by all his clergy, the re 
ligious of the various monasteries, and the children of the 
schools ; an immense crowd followed and mingled their voices 
with the funeral chaimts of the priests, and with the sound of 
all the bells of the episcopal city. Several nobles joined in 
the procession. The body was conveyed to the celebrated 
Cathedral, where the bodies of the Emperor St. Heiry and 
of the Empress St. Cunegunda reposed. During the whole 
night the office for the dead was chaunted. 

The next day Elizabeth, accompanied by her ever faithful 
Ysentruie and Guta, was conducted to the place where 
the precious relics reposed; they opened the coffin and per 
mitted her to look upon the remains of her husband. "Then," 
says the pious narrator of this scene, " what her heart felt of 
grief and love none could know but Him who reads the 
secrets of the hearts of the children of men." All the afflic 
tion of the moment wherein she first learned her loss, wat 
renewed in her soul; she threw herself on the bones, and 
12 



266 



LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH. 



fervently kissed them; her tears flowed abundantly; her agi 
tation was so violent that the bishop and the nobles present 
strove to console her and to lead her away from the sad 
spectacle. But she remembered God, and immediately all 
her strength of mind was restored. "I thank you, O Lord," 
said she, "for having deigned to listen to my prayer, and for 
having granted my earnest wish in permitting me to look 
upon the remains of him, my beloved and yours. I thank 
you for having thus consoled my afflicted and desolate soul ; 
he offered himself, and I also offered him, to you for the 
defence of your Holy Land. I regret not this sacrifice, 
though I loved him with all my heart s ardour. You know, 
O my God, how I loved this husband, who loved you so 
much ; you know that I would prefer him to all the delights 
of this world, if your goodness permitted it. You know that 
with^him I would be willing to spend my life in misery, and 
to beg my bread with him from door to door, throughout the 
whole world, solely to have the happiness of being by his side, 
if you willed it, O my God ! Now I resign myself and him 
to your Divine pleasure, and I would not, even if I could, 
purchase him back again at the price of a single hair of my 
head, unless it was agreeable to you, my good God ! " 

This was the last cry of vanquished nature, the last sigh 
of the earthly affections in this young heart, expiring under 
the yoke of Divine love. Having spoken these words, she 
dried the torrent of her tears, and left the Church in silence. 
She went and sat in a little grassy cloister near the cathedral, 
and sent to the Thuringian knights who had brought the 
body of her husband, to come and meet her there. At their 
approach she arose humbly to do them honour, and requested 
them to seat themselves around, as she was not strong enough 
to remain standing. She spoke gently to them for a long 
time, and asked them, in the name of God and of Jesus Christ, 
to protect her little children, and to act as their guardians. 



OF HUNGARY. 

She told them of the cruel conduct of the Landgraves Henry 
and Conrad to them and to herself, and of the misery they 
had endured at Eisenach. The Bishop in his turn confirmed 
the recital of the Duchess, and spoke with the knights on the 
means to be used to repair the wrongs done to the widow 
and orphans of their sovereign. A lively indignation was 
manifested by the pilgrims when they heard of the sufferings 
of the young Duchess. They declared that they would always 
regard her as their lady and mistress, and would defend her 
against all. At their head was the noble and faithful Do 
Yarila, son of him who sixteen years before brought from 
her father s palace the princess who now appealed to him as 
a betrayed and oppressed widow ; he thought upon the oath 
which his father had sworn to king Andrew to watch over hia 
daughter, and with his brothers-in-arms he requested the 
prelate to confide to their care this noble, but distressed 
family, that they might bring them, together with the mortal 
remains of Duke Louis, to Thuringia, where they vowed that 
ample justice should be done them. Assured by their pro 
mises, and by their renown as valiant knights, which the 
events of the late crusades served materially to increase, the 
bishop consented, and entrusted them with the charge of her 
whose defenders they had constituted themselves. It does 
not appear that he mentioned his project of a second mar 
riage for the young Duchess. After having, himself, cele 
brated for the repose of the soul of the defunct prince a 
solemn pontifical mass, at which all the inhabitants of the 
city assisted, and having generously defrayed the expenses of 
the guests during their sojourn at Bamberg, he bade them 
farewell, and took leave also of the Duchess and her children. 
The mournful procession set out for the abbey of Reynharts- 
brunn, where the pious Louis had chosen his burial place. 
Meanwhile the news of the arrival of the remains of the 
beloved sovereign reached Thurinctfa, ind rrea^a 



868 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

great sensation. Not only did the Duchess Sophia, mothet 
of Louis, with her sons, Henry and Conrad, hasten to Reyn 
hartsbrunn to meet the funeral, but also tae counts, lords, 
and knights of the country, and, in remembrance of the good 
prince who had so tenderly cared for and energetically pro 
tected them, an immense multitude of people, rich and poor, 
of town and of country, men and women, assembled at Reyn- 
hartsbrunn to pay the last honours to him who so short a 
time before parted from them for God s honour to meet under 
a foreign sky the fate of a too premature death. 

Many motives contributed to swell this crowd ; the very 
natural desire to see who of the crusaders had escaped the 
perils of the voyage, brought there all who had friends or 
relatives engaged in the Holy Wars ; and also the interest 
which was everywhere, but at Eisenach, felt for the Duchess 
Elizabeth, the recital of her woes, and of her exile which 
had been heard in the country, and the wish to know what 
should become of this young and defenceless woman, attracted 
thither many pious and compassionate souls. Several bishops 
and abbots came also to testify their respect for the champion 
of the Church and of the Holy Sepulchre. The monks from 
whom he had parted with so much affection, and with a toe 
surely realized presentiment, had now to perform the sad duty 
of rendering to him the highest honours which the Church de 
crees to her departed children in the faith. They went to meet 
his body, followed by a great number of the secular clergy, and 
a multitude of people chaunting psalms and hymns, frequently 
interrupted by their weeping. The obsequies were celebrated 
in the abbey church, in presence of the two Duchesses, and 
the two young Landgraves, who, before the remains of Louis, 
were united in a mutual and sincere sorrow 

All the magnificence of ecclesiastical ceremony was used 
on this occasion, and the solemnities were prolonged for several 
days. The sighs and tears of the poor were the most novel 



of HUNGART. 

and beautiful features in the funeral pomp. Generous offer 
ings were given to the Church, and abundant alms distributed 
to the indigent, as the last tribute of respect to him who had 
so well loved the poor and venerated the Church. His re 
mains were enclosed in a skriue, which was laid in a tomb 
hewn out of stone, in such a manner that they remained 
exposed, and many pilgrimages were made to visit them. 
The people s love, and the gratitude of the monks, decreed to 
Louis the surname of the pious, under which he is known in 
history, and which was confirmed by many miraculous cures 
obtained at his tomb through his invocation. Thus was he 
during three centuries the object of popular veneration, which, 
however, was never confirmed by ecclesiastical authority. At 
the present day the Catholic traveller may see the broken 
stone of his sepulchre in that Church which is no longer Cath 
olic. In contemplating this last memorial, we cannot refuse a 
tribute of respect and admiration to this prince, who, though 
the Chuvrsh l>as not enrolled him amongst her b^lv ouea. WM 
%t i? "hv husband of a saint 



270 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 



CHAPTER XXII. 

BOW THE THURINGIAN KNIGHTS MADE DUKE HENRT REPENT OP HH 
WICKEDNESS, AND MADE HIM RENDER AMPLE JUSTICE TO THE 
DEA ST. ELIZABETH. 

"Apari M tuum muto, et causis omnium flllorum qul pertranseunt : perl 
baum, decerne quodjustuai est, et judica inopem et pauperum." Prvts. xxxi. 8, 9. 

IMMEDIATELY after the termination of the obsequies, the 
Lord De Yarila reminded the Thuringian knights who sur 
rounded the Duchess Elizabeth of the pledge they had given 
the bishop of Bamberg in regard to his niece. They retired 
to deliberate upon it. 

"We must now," said Lord Rodolph, "keep the vow 
which we made to our noble prince, and to our lady Elizabeth, 
who has already endured such misery ; otherwise, I very 
much fear that our conduct will deserve for us the eternal fire 
of hell." 

Ail understood this language, for in those times the bravest 
warriors were not ashamed of being guided in their actions 
by the thought of another life. They unanimously resolved 
to address vigorous remonstrances to the Landgrave Henry 
and his brother, and they specially charged with this unplea 
Bant duty four knights, whose names, says the historian, 
mtrit to be preserved with immortal glory. These were, 
first, the Lord De Varila, great cupbearer, who was to speak 
in the name of all, as being the most eloquent, and who, with 
bis family, was most attached to the Duchess ; and with him, 
Ludolph de Berstetten, Hartwig de Herba, and Gaultier de 
Varila, related to Rodolph. Preceded by these, all the 
knights went to meet the young princes, whom they found 



OF HUNGARY. fl\ 

with their mother. The Lord De Varila, turning ,owardi 
Duke Henry, addressed to him the following words, which 
have been carefully and with good reason recorded in the 
chronicles of the country : 

" My Lord, my friends and your vassals who are here 
present, have requested me to speak to you in their name. 
We have heard in Franconia, and even here in Thuringia, of 
conduct of yours so blameable, that it has filled us with 
consternation, and given us reason to blush in thinking 
that in our country and amongst our princes, so much 
impiety and infidelity, and such a want of honour, could be 
found. 

" Young prince, what have you done, and who has given 
you counsels so nefarious ? What ! you have driven igno- 
miniously from your castles and from your cities, as if she 
was a wicked woman, your brother s wife, the afflicted 
widow, the daughter of an illustrious king, whom, on the 
contrary, you should have honoured and consoled. Forget 
ting even your own renown, you have exposed her to suffering 
and left her to wander through the streets as a mendicant. 
When your brother devoted his life for the love of God, his 
little orphans, whom you should have defended and cherished 
like a faithful guardian, were cruelly repulsed by you, and 
you knew that they even had to be separated from their dear 
mother to prevent them dying of hunger with her. Is thii 
your fraternal love? Is this what you learned from your 
brother, that virtuous prince, who would not act in such a 
manner towards the meanest of his subjects ? No ; the 
rudest peasant would not be so guilty towards one of his 
fellows, as you, a prince, have been to your brother, when 
he went to fight and die for the love of God I How can 
we now trust to youi fidelity or your honour ? You know 
that as a knight you are sworn tc protect widows and 
orphans, and you are yourself the first to wrong the orphani 



Of ST. ELIZABETH, 

And the widow of your brother. I tell you plainly that sncfc 
conduct cries to Heaven for vengeance." 

T^e Duchess Sophia, on hearing these well-merited re 
proaches addressed to her son, burst into tears. The young 
Duke, annoyed and ashamed, hung his head, without reply 
ing. The Lord de Varila then resumed : " And, my Lord, 
tfhat had you to fear from a poor weakly woman, anguish- 
stricken and aione, without friends or allies in this country ? 
What injury would this noble and virtuous lady have done 
you, even if she had remained mistress of all your castles ? 
What will now be said of you in other countries? How 
shameful ! I blush to think of your degradation. Know 
that you havo offended God that you have dishonoured this 
country of Thuringia that you have sullied your own fame 
and that of your noble house ; and I fear, indeed, that the 
wrath of God will fall heavily on our land, unless you do 
penance before Him, and become reconciled to this pioui 
lady, by restoring to her and to your brother s son all that 
of which you have unjustly deprived them." 

All present were astonished at the courageous boldness of 
the noble knight s language, and God made use of his words 
to touch a heart which had long remained insensible to the 
inspirations of justice and piety. 

The young prince, who had remained silent until then, 
burst into tears, and wept for some time without uttering a 
word, but at length he said " I repent sincerely of what I 
have done. I will never again listen to those who counselled 
me to act thus ; restore to me your confidence and your 
friendship, and I will do willingly all that my sister Eliza 
beth shall require. I give you full power to dispose of my 
life and my possessions as you will." The Lord de Varilt 
replied " Tis well ; that is the only means of escaping the 
wrath of God." Nevertheless, Henry could not refrain from 
aying, in a low voice " If jny sister Elizabeth owned tht 



or HUNGARY. 273 

whole empire of Germany, none of it wi dd she retain for 
Herself, but would give it all away for the love of God." 

De Varila then went with his companions to announce to 
Elizabeth the result of his remonstrances, and to inform her 
that her brother-in-law was anxious to be reconciled, and to 
do her justice. When they began to speak of the conditions 
to be imposed on Duke Henry, she cried out- "I want 
neither his castles nor his riches, nor anything that would 
tend to trouble or distract me ; but I would be grateful to 
my brother-in-law if he would give me what is due of my 
dowry, in order to defray the expenses of what I wish to 
do for the salvation of my own soul, and the repose of that 
of my beloved husband." 

The knights then conducted Henry to Elizabeth. He 
came accompanied by his mother and his brother Conrad. 
When he saw her, he begged forgiveness for the injuries he 
had done her, said that he regretted them sincerely, and 
that he would make ample atonement. Elizabeth answered 
by embracing him tenderly and beginning to weep. The 
two brothers and the Duchess Sophia mingled their tears 
with hers, and the valiant warriors could no longer remain 
unmoved spectators of this touching scene, and they too 
wept, remembering the mild and gracious prince who had 
been the connecting link of all this family, and who was now 
hopelessly lost to them. 

The rights of the children were also secured, particularly 
those of Hermann, the first-born, and lawful heir to the 
duchies of Thurmgia and Hesse. The Regency, as by right 
was given during his minority, to the elder of his uncles, 
the Landgrave Henry. All these arrangements concluded, 
the crusader knights separated to return to their castles ; and 
Elizabeth, with her children, accomp&nied by the Duchtss 
Sophia and the young Duke, set out for that Wartburg from 
which she had been so heartlessly expelled. (A. D. 1228-1229.) 
12* 



274 LIFE OF 8T ELIUBITM, 



CHAPTER XXIII 

BOW THE DEAR SAINT ELIZABETH RENOUNCED THE WOKLDLf LIT!, 
AND, RETIRING TO MARBURG, ASSUMED THERE THE HABIT OF THJ 
ORDER OF THE GLORIOUS SAINT FRANCIS. 

" Unam petti a Domino, hanc reqnlram, nt inhabitem In domo Domino omnibot 
itebus vlt me : at videam voluptatem Domini. . . . Quonlam absoondit MM la 
tabernaculo suo." Psalm xxvl. 7, 8, 9 

41 Pro Francis! chordula, 
Mantello. tunlcula, 
Purpuram deposuit," 

Ancient prose for St. Elizabeth^ in ih* 
Franciscan Manual of 161&, 

DUKE HENRY was faithful to his promises, and, during all 
the time that Elizabeth remained with him, he strove by the 
most respectful affection to obliterate the remembrance of the 
many sufferings he had caused her to endure. 

He restored to her all the honours due to her rank, and 
gave her full liberty to continue all her pious exercises and 
works of charity ; and these she resumed with her wonted 
ardour. About this time she founded the hospital of Saint 
Mary Magdalene, at Gotha, which she had planned during 
her husband s life-time, and which she completed at her return 
to her possessions. 

As before, her love for the poor occupied in her heart all 
that was not devoted to prayer and contemplation. Freed 
by her widowhood from the obligation of appearing at festivals 
and public ceremonies, she avoided all occasions of sharing in 
the banquets given to the nobles, or in the other rejoicings of 
the ccurt, which she knew were too frequently provided by 
naeana derived from the oppression and hard labour of th 



Of HUNGARY 275 

lowly. She preferred to the pomp of this world s power 
the humiliations of God s poor people, and associated herselt 
te them as much as possible by the practice of voluntary 
poverty. 

The sight of such a life offered too severe a lesson to the 
courtiers and to the false knights who had caused her so much 
Miftsring in her youth and in the early days of her widowhood, 
not to re-animate their dislike towards her. To be revenged 
for her contempt for the riches and pleasures which they prized 
above all things, they affected to despise herself. They would 
neither speak to nor visit her. If by chance they met her, 
.hey profited of the opportunity afforded them to call her, in 
an audible tone, a mad woman ana a fool. She endured these 
insults with equanimity; her face expressed so much happi 
ness and resignation, that they accused her of having already 
forgotten the death of her husband and of indulging in un 
seemly joy. ** Miserable wretches !" says an author of that 
time, " they understood not that she possessed the peace and 
joy which are not granted to the impious." 

Even the Duchess Sophia appears to have been prejudiced 
against her by calumnies, and to have manifested to her 
daughter in-law feelings of surprise and indignation ; but Eliza 
beth was not troubled, for the Lord, who was all in all to her, 
read the secrets of her heart. 

On the other hand, pious persons, whose souls were truly 
wise, appreciated and admired her humility. Besides, she 
received at this time the noblest encouragement to a Chris 
tian soul the most powerful protection to a maligned 
woman. From the Holy See, which was then the only sure 
refuge of the feeble and the persecuted, words of friendly 
and fatherly tenderness were uttered to strengthen and to 
honour her. The same Cardinal Ugolino, whom we have 
already seen acting as intermediary between our prinoe 



LIFE O* Bt. ELIZABETH, 

and St. Francis of Assisium, had become Pope, under th 
name of Gregory IX., and having heard of her sufferings, 
and of her unalterable fidelity in the path traced out for her 
by God, addressed to her a letter replete with apostolic con- 
olation He exhorted her, by the examples of the saints, 
and by the hope of eternal life, to persevere in continence 
and patience : he enjoined her to place confidence in him, for 
that during his life he would not abandon her ; that on the 
contrary he would ever look upon her as his child, and that 
thenceforth he took her person and property under his special 
protection. At the same time, he granted her the privilege 
of having a church and cemetery attached to her hospital of 
Saint Mary Magdalene at Gotha. This tender and vigilant 
father also ordered Master Conrad, who was still invested 
with Apostolic authority in Germany, and who had just re 
turned to Thuringia, to take charge more than ever, abso 
lutely and specially, of the spiritual direction of the Duchesa 
Elizabeth, and at the same time to defend her against all 
who might endeavour to do her any injury. 

Whether these exhortations of the common father of the 
faithful gave a new impulse to her courage, or whethei 
obeying the wonderful influence of Divine grace in her heart, 
she soon entertained the idea and earnest desire of embra* ing 
a life more perfect and more united to God. Though, 
assuredly, she was as much as possible detached from the 
splendours and pleasures of her rank, that did not satisfy her 
ardour Her soul came too frequently in contact with tnt 
world, and that world she loved not. After having for a 
long time considered upon what manner of life would be most 
pleasing to God, and having examined the different rules of 
the Monastic Orders then existing, and even the solitary life 
of the recluses, the remembrance and example of the glorious 
seraph-saint of Assisium, whose child she was already, as a 
Penitent of the Third Or ier, gained the mastery in her heart ; 



F HUNGARY. 277 

he felt the same courage, the same love of God and of 
poverty, as he did ; she resolved upon embracing his rule in 
all its primitive rigour, and like him and his fervent disci 
ples, after having renounced all things, to go and beg her 
bread from door to door. She mentioned her decision to 
Master Conrad, and humbly requested his consent. But 
this prudent director rejected this idea with indignation, and 
ga?e her a severe reprimand, being persuaded that her sei 
and weakness forbade her such a life. She still insisted ear 
nestly, shedding an abundance of tears ; but as he was stead- 
tast in refusing, she left him, crying out, u You shall see ; I 
will do something that you cannot prevent !" But when she 
saw that she could not vanquish Conrad s resistance for that 
time, she had recourse to other means to satisfy the ardour and 
zeal by which she was animated. 

The Regent Henry, as we have already said, whatever 
might have been his secret thoughts upon the manners and 
feelings of his sister-in-law, always testified to her the respect 
and affection which he had sworn over the ashes of his bro 
ther, and paid to her honours which the humble princess 
would fain decline receiving ; counting on those good disposi 
tions, and after having resided for about a year with her 
fami y, Elizabeth besought Duke Henry to assign to her 
some residence where she might entirely devote herself to 
God, without allowing any earthly care to interfere with her 
works of piety and charity. Henry, after consulting his 
mother and brother, granted the city of Marburg, in Hesse, 
with all its dependencies and revenues, to provide for her 
maintenance. Penetrated with gratitude, she thanked her 
mother and brothers-in-law, snying that they did for her 
more than she deserved, and gave more than would suffice 
for all her wants. But the Landgrave promised to give also 
500 marks of silver, to defray the first expenses of her esU 



175 LIFE OF ST. EL ZABETH, 

Master Conrad seems not to have approved of this arrange 
ment, since we find that he wrote to the Pope that it wai 
against his will that the Duchess came into his country 
But as he did not oppose it positively, she profited of hia 
approaching departure, to leave Thuringia, and to go and 
dwell near her spiritual Father in the city which derived 
from her name so pure and glorious a renown. 

On her arrival at Marbourg, she followed the advice given 
by Master Conrad, and appointed officers and bailiffs, who 
were to administer the laws in her name. The people of the 
city were so eager to pay their homage to their young sove 
reign, that her humility could scarce endure such honour ; 
so she retired to a little village called Wehrda, about a 
league from the city, on the charming banks of the Lahn, a 
river which runs by Marburg. On entering it, she selected 
as her habitation the first cabin which she saw, and it was 
one deserted and almost in ruins ; this she did, that she might 
not cause any trouble to the people in the village, for her 
tender solicitude was already awakened in behalf of her new 
subjects. For shelter, she had to lie under the projection of 
a staircase or of a chimney, and to gather the leafy branches 
of trees to cover the openings by which the sun and wind 
entered too freely. She prepared also her meagre food as 
well as she was able, and always returned thanks to God. This 
miserable hovel protected her neither from the heat nor from 
the cold, and the smoke seriously injured her eyes, but for 
God s sake she endured all these mortifications joyfully. 
Meanwhile, she caused to be constructed at Marburg, near 
the convent of the Friars Minors, a small house composed of 
wood and brick, like a poor cabin, in order that all might 
know that it was not as a great princess that she came to 
establish herself in her capital, but as an humble and patient 
widow, who came there to serve the Lord in poverty and 
peace. As soon as this palace of Christian abnegation wai 



r HUNGART. 

completed, she wen tc dwell there with her children and her 
faithful servants. 

Yet Elizabeth still sought a more signal and entire detach 
ment from the world, and a closer and more manifest bond 
of union with God. Her confessor continued steadfast in 
refusing her permission to embrace the Franciscan rule in all 
its severity, and to beg her bread like the poor Clares ; jet 
she was still anxious to imitate, as far as possible, this life, 
which seemed to her to be the type of evangelical perfection, 
We have seen that during her husband s life-time she had 
been enrolled in the Third Order of St. Franci She resolved 
thenceforth to give to that affiliation an irrevocable and solemn 
character ; and though, previous to that time, this branch of 
the Franciscan family was not looked upon as forming a 
regular, or, correctly speaking, a monastic order, she wished 
to make a public profession, as used the cloistered religious, 
and to renew solemnly the vows of chastity, obedience, and 
absolute poverty which she had so frequently made in her 
heart. Elizabeth was thus enabled to associate herself, as 
far as possible, in that glorious renunciation of this world s 
wealth which has during so many centuries merited for the 
Seraphic Order the special protection of God and the admira 
tion of the Christian world. 

Master Conrad approved of this design, but he would not 
permit her to consider her vow of poverty as depriving her of 
the free disposal of the revenues proceeding from her dowry, 
and the estates assigned for her use by the Landgrave 
Henry. But on the contrary, she was gradually to apply 
them to the relief of the poor, and to the liquidation of 
certain debts incurred by her late husband, the good Duke 
Louis 

Nevertheless, she renounced this wealth in spirit, as she 
did all earthly affoctions, even the most legitimate. To gain 
this victory, not only over the world, but even over her 



280 LIFE Or ST. ELIZABETH, 

own soul, ehe pious Elizabeth knew that greater strength 
was required than what could be derived from her own will, 
and the examples of the Blessed Francis, and of the othef 
holy souls who had preceded her in the paths of perfection. 
She knew that grace from above was alone sufficiently power 
ful for this, and she begged it from God, with more than her 
wonted fervour, for several days before she assumed the 
habit. She informed her friend Ysentrude that she inces 
santly prayed to the Lord for three favours, first, an entire 
disregard of all temporal wealth, then the courage to disdain 
the injuries and calumnies of men, and, finally, the diminu 
tion of the excessive love she bore to her children. After 
having for some time sought these graces, she came one day 
to her companions, radiant with more than earthly joy, and 
said to them "The Lord has heard my prayer ; behold ! I 
formerly loved the wealth and pleasures of the world, and 
now they are become worthless in my eyes. The calumnies 
of men, the false sayings of the wicked, and the contempt 
which they lavish upon me, have become to me sources of 
pride and happiness. My little ones, these children beloved 
of my heart, are become, as it were, strangers to me. Thia 
God sees. It is to him I offer them to his care I confide 
them. May his holy will be done in all things ! I no longer 
love anything, nor any creature : henceforth the Great 
Creator alone possesses my heart." Inflamed with this 
heroic love, Elizabeth thought herself sufficiently well-dis 
posed to make her vows and to take the habit consecrated 
by her glorious models, St. Francis and St. Clare. "If \ 
could," said she, "find a rule poorer than that of Clare, 
I would embrace it, to console myself for not being allowed 
to enter her Order. But I know of none such." She se 
lected for this ceremony the Church of the Friars Minors, 
and the feast of Good Friday. The day when Jesus Christ 
despoiled of all for our love was nailed to the Cross, and ov 



OF HUNGARY. 28i 

which the altars are bared and uncovered as He was, to re 
mind the faithful of the Supreme Sacrifice ; and this was thf 
day that Elizabeth preferred in her turn to renounce all things, 
and to rend the last ties that bound her to earth, in order to 
follow more perfectly the Spouse of her soul in the ways of 
poverty and charity. 

Thus on this blessed day, in the presence of her children, 
her friends, and several Franciscan Fathers, she came to lay 
her holy hands on the bare Altar stone, and there vowed to 
renounce her will, her children, her relations, her companions, 
and alt the pomps and pleasures of this world. 

Brother Burkhard, Guardian of the Friars Minors of Hesse, 
who looked upon Elizabeth as his spiritual child and friend, 
cut otf her hair, clothed her with the grey robe, and girded 
her with the cord which was the distinctive mark of the order 
of St Francis, whilst Master Conrad celebrated Mass. She 
wore this costume, and ever after went barefooted. From this 
moment, too, as if to obliterate the remembrance of her past 
grandeur, she substituted on her seal the figure of a bare 
footed Franciscan religious in place of the armorial bearings 
of her husband s family and her own. 

Guta, her maid of honour, who had been her faithful and 
inseparable companion from childhood, was now unwilling to 
lead a different kind of life from that of her dear mistress. 
She also assumed the habit of the Third Order, and solemnly 
renewed the vow of chastity which she had made some years 
before during the life jf Duke Louis. This community of life 
and feeling was to Elizabeth a consolation, which she proba 
bly would have denied herself, had she been aware of Guta i 
intention ; it was one, however, of which she was very soou 
deprived. 

But now it became necessary to part with her children, 
whom she reproached herself for loving too ardently. Her 
ou Hermann, her first-born, and heir to the sovereignty of 



IIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

bis father s possessions, at this time between six and 
fears of age, was sent to the castle of Creutzburg, to remain 
it good and safe keeping until he should be old enough to 
assume the reins of government, which were then held by hia 
ancle, as regent. 

It is probable that the same place was also the home of 
her eldest daughter, Sophia, already affianced to the young 
Duke of Brabant. Her second daughter, Sophia, returned 
to the abbey of Kitzingen, where she was to take the veil, 
and where she remained during her whole life. The youngest 
of all, the little Gertrude, scarcely two years old, born after 
her father s death, was sent to the convent of the Premon- 
stratensian nuns of Aldenburg, near Wetzlar. Every one 
was astonished that this young princess should be placed in a 
poor and newly founded house, and some severely reproached 
Elizabeth for it, but she answered them that she did so 
according to the agreement made between her husband and 
herself at the moment of parting, even before the birth of the 
child " It was heaven," said she, " that inspired us to 
choose that monastery, for it wills that my child shall con 
tribute to the spiritual and temporal advancement of that 
holy house." Now, indeed, was her sacrifice perfect her 
entire separation from the world consummated, by one of those 
efforts which even exceed the precepts of Christian duty. 
There remained no longer anything for her to renounce all 
in this world was dead to her at the age of twenty-two 
years she could say with the Apostle, " / live, but it is no 
longer I who live, but it is Jesus Christ who lives in me." 
Gal. ii. 20. 

And the world, and its powerful ones, who still pursued 
her with their hatred, awaited but this moment to redouble 
their insulting attacks. The wise and great people of the 
time had but one voice to proclaim aloud the madness of thii 
spouse of Christ, and they were not deceived, for she had 



OF HUNGARY. 

Indeed comprehended and embraced in its fullest extent the 
^r/ed folly of the cross. 

What the courtiers of Tlmringia then said is. and doubtlesi 
rill be, often repeated by those who, having admired the 
poetic history of her early years, are amazed and shocked at 
this decisive crisis in her life " What !" say they, "still so 
young, and having so many duties to perform so much of 
lawful happiness to enjoy, to choose so extraordinary an exist 
ence 1 to impose on herself such unnecessary penance I to 
renounce the care of her children, and all the duties of her 
position in society !" And many other futile reasons in which 
this wordly wisdom is so rich, that it but knows how to ca 
lumniate all that is above the comprehension of its selfishness, 
or stronger than its weakness. 

Faithful souls ! shall these be our thoughts in contemplating 
the triumphs of this Christian heroine. If, because we are 
too weak to imitate or to follow her, shall we be blind enough 
not to admire her virtues ? Shall we not bow with a tender 
respect before these secrets of divine love, this absolute obe 
dience to the words of our Saviour, " If any man come to me 
and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, 
and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot 
be my disciple" St. Luke, xiv. 26 

We must not be surprised that the world should despise 
and insult her, for, following Christ, she conquered the world. 
In the war that it wages from earliest youth with the soul 
redeemed by the blood of God, she had bravely fought ; with 
her weak hand she took up the gauntlet in the lists, and 
fearlessly engaged in the conflict, avoiding not its wounds, 
but living in the midst of attacks and innumerable snares 
At an age when so many faults are excusable from inexpe 
rience, she had already condemned the rash judgments of this 
world, with its prejudices and its falsehoods. She had denied 
its rights over her, braved its calumnies, scorned its contempt 



284 LIFE OF BT. ELIZABETH, 

She vanquished it in every place and at every time in the 
riches and splendour of a court, as well as in the bitterness 
of hunger pinched poverty in the most cherished affections 
of the heart, as well as in its most severe trials, in anguish, 
desolation, and death. Neither the ties of conjugal life, nor 
the maternal love of her heart, nor even reputation, the last 
of earthly treasures, was over prized by her. And if now 
she retired from her foe, it was because she had been victo 
rious in the struggle. Entering the battle-field in her child 
hood, she left it not until she had completely vanquished her 
enemy. 

Now that she had overcome the wiles of the wicked ser 
pent, it was permitted to her to lay down her arms, and tc 
await, surrounded by the mysterious joys of poverty and ob* 
dience, the day of Eternal triumph 



or HUNGARY. 986 



CHAPTER XIV. 

f THl Q.tEAT POVERTY IN WHICH THE DRAR ST. ILIZABBTB 
IJVED, AND HOW SHE ADVANCED IN HUMILITY AND MERCY TO 
WARDS ALL CREATURES. 

"Manum suam uiisit -,. fortia et digit! ejus apprehenderant fusum. M^iin^ 
aani aporuit inopi et paluias suas exteiulit ad pauperem." Prov. xxxi. 19, 20. 

M Ajtxen, dico vobis, quamdiu fccistis uni ex bis fratribua mei minimi*, mihl tafe- 
U." & Matth. v. 40. 

"El*gi abjectus ease." P*. Izxxlii. 11. 

ELIZABETH, devoted alone to God, wished that the volun 
tary poverty she had embraced should be as complete as pos 
sible ; she was anxious that all should correspond with the 
poor cottage she had chosen for her dwelling-place. She 
consecrated all the revenues that Master Conrad obliged her 
to retain nominally, to the relief of the poor, and to the sus- 
tainmeut of charitable institutions. 

Not having succeeded in obtaining her confessor s permis 
sion to seek her daily food from the charitable, she resolved 
to earn her livelihood by the labour of her hands. For this 
purpose she could spin wool, not being able to spin flax. Sho 
used to get from the monastery of Altenberg wool for her 
work and, when it was all spun, she used to send it to the 
uuns, who paid her for her labour, but not always to the full 
value. She, on the contrary, was scrupulously exact in per 
forming her task. One day that she had received payment 
in advance for a certain quantity of work, Master Conrad sent 
for her to go with him from Marburg to Eisenach ; seeing 
that she could not spin all the wool, she sent the little that 
remained undone, with the yarn, to the convent, and with it 



286 

a Cologne penny, lest she might be accused cf taking too 
mnch money for her labour. She worked so incessantly, that 
even when weakness or illness confined her to bed, and when 
her companions took away the distaff, that she might have some 
rest, to avoid idleness she used to disentangle and arrange wool 
for future use. She earned by this means sufficient to make 
her offerings to the churches, and to provide for her support 
Nothing could be coarser or more simple than her food. II 
any brought her anything delicate or savoury, she used at once 
to send it to some poor person in her hospital without even 
tasting of it. Still she neglected not the counsels of Chris 
tian prudence in this matter, for she begged of her physician 
to point out what the exact limits of her abstinence ought to 
be, lest by fasting too severely she should bring upon herself 
infirmities which would prevent her from serving God well, 
and for which He would call her to a strict account ; yet she 
was very frequently ill. 

She most generally eat vegetables boiled in pure water, 
without salt, and, well or ill, she prepared them herself. 
While she was thus occupied in the cares of her house, she 
ceased not to elevate her soul to God in prayer and medita 
tion ; and often when alone by the fireside, either engaged in 
cooking, or when she approached to warm herself, so absorbed 
used she to be in contemplation that sparks and cinders would 
sometimes fall upon her garments and burn them without her 
knowledge, though, when her companions would return, thy 
would feel almost suffocated by the smoke and odour of the 
burning stuff. 

Her clothing might be compared to her food in its poverty. 
She generally wore a robe of undyed cloth, such as was used 
by the peasantry and the poorest classes only ; this robe was 
often torn and patched, and was confined round her waist by 
a coarse cord. Her mantle, of the same stuff as her gown, 
had become too short, and was lengthened by a piece of 



OF HUNGARY. * 

anotker colour. Whenever she found scraps of clot* ihi 
used to gather them up, to mend the rents and burns OB 
her garments, with her own hands, though she did not wel 
know how to sew. She feared not to go out in this costume, 
nd this confirmed profane men in the opinion they had 
conceived of her insanity ; whilst pious souls looked upon 
her as a second Saint Clare. And wretched as these clothe* 
were, she frequently deprived herself of them to give them to 
poor people, so that through the intense cold of winter she 
was often obliged to remain by her humble hearth, or to lia 
under her scanty bed-covering, when she would say, " Here 
am I resting as if in my coffin," and this new trial was to her 
a source of pure joy. 

Enduring all these privations she never lost the amiability 
of her character, nor the affability, nor extreme and continual 
goodness in her manners to all, by which she had ever been 
distinguished. From her childhood she had preferred the 
society of the poor and humble to any other ; and now in her 
pious retreat she treated not only these maids of honour who 
would not part from her, but also the servants appointed by 
Master Conrad, with tender and sweet cordiality. 

She wished that not one of them, however low her extrac 
tion might have been, should give her any title of distinction, 
but should simply call her by her baptismal name, Elizabeth ; 
and also that when addressing her they should use the pro 
nouns Thee and Thou, as if speaking to an equal or to an in 
ferior. 

She endeavoured rather to serve them than to be served 
by them. This daughter of Kings took a pleasure in perform 
ing their menial offices such as washing the utensils of her 
house. In order to perform, without incurring remarks, 
these works servile in the eyes of men, but ennobled befor 
God by sublime humility, she used to give various com 
missions to her attendants, and when they had returned aftet 



t88 Lirs or IT. KLIZABBTH, 

executing them, they would find that their mistress had dowi 
all their work. After having prepared her repasts, as we hav 
seen, she would make them sit by her at table and eat from 
the same plate. One of them, named Irmengarde, who related 
these matters to the ecclesiastical judges, amazed at the sight 
rf so much humility in a princess formerly so powerful, said 
o her one day: "Surely, madam, you acquire great merit 
by your conduct towards us, but you forget the danger to 
which you expose us, that of filling us with pride, by per 
mitting us to eat with you, and to sit by your side." To 
which the Duchess replied : " Ah, since it is thus with thee, 
thou must even come and sit upon my knees," and taking 
Irmengarde in her arms, she placed her as she had said. 
Her patience and charity were beyond measure ; nothing could 
irritate or provoke her to give way to the least discontent. 
She spoke frequently and for a long time with her companions ; 
the heavenly sweetness and gaiety of her heart, as it were, 
flowed over, in these familiar conversations, which were most 
profitable to the souls of those who listened to her. But she 
could not bear that any one should utter in her presence words 
of vanity or levity, or that they should give way to anger or 
impatience ; she would interrupt them always, saying, " Well, 
where is our Lord now ? and she would reprove the guilty 
one with an authority tempered by grace and gentleness. 

In the midst of this life, apparently so mortified and hum 
ble, but so glorious before God, and so fruitful in ineffable joy 
to her who had devoted herself so entirely to Him, Elizabeth 
could not forget what was to her, after the care of her soul s 
salvation, the first and only interest of her terrestrial life, the 
comfort of her poor and afflicted brethren. Having renounced 
all, more surely to find Jesus in Heaven, she could not neglect 
his suffering members on earth. Not contented with devoting 
to the use and comfort of the poor the entire proceeds of her 
property, o far as that she reserved not for herself as much 



OF HUMOART. 281 

as would serve to sustain life, and that her Director wai 
obliged to set a limit to her expenditure ; she, as in early 
years, sought by her cares to alleviate still further their mise 
ries by cleansing the sores and wounds of their bodies, and 
pouring the balm of consolation into their weary hearts. 
When she arrived at Marburg her first care was to erect an 
hospital, which she dedicated to the memory of St Francis 
of Assisium, according to the injunction of Pope Gregory 
IX. The pontiff, who had just canonized that angelic man, 
thought it right, on the occasion of the translation of his body, 
to send to his intrepid and faithful imitatrix, a present for 
more precious than the mantle which she formerly received 
with so much gratitude ; and this present consisted of son* 
drops of the blood which flowed from the wound in the side 
of St. Francis, when he received the sacred stigmata. Eliza 
beth received this blessed gift in the same spirit that inspired 
the Pope to send it to her, and looked upon it as a new pledge 
of her alliance witli and affection for him who from amongst 
all other men had followed most closely in the footsteps of our 
Redeemer. She thought she could not better dispose of this 
holy relic than to enshrine it in the hospital, to the service of 
which she intended to dedicate the remainder of hex life. 

As soon as this asylum was completed, she placed therein 
the greatest possible number of the sick. Every day, accom 
panied by her two faithful friends and sisters in religion, Guta 
and Ysentrude, she used to go and spend many hours amongst 
the patients, cleansing and dressing them, and administering 
to them the prt-scribed remedies ; and above all, consoling 
each one with the most affectionate exhortations adapted tc 
his state of corporal sufferings or the spiritual wants of his 
oul. It was not the charitable instincts of her heart, or the 
necessity of gratifying her desire of comforting her neighbour 
alone, that she seemed to ebey, but as if she strove to find in 
theM works of mercy " immolating her flesh m 

18 



200 LIFE OF BT. ELIZABETH, 

often conquered, she transformed them into mortifications of a 
new and extraordinary kind ; and we can hardly discriminate 
which held the greatest sway in her heart, the love of her 
neighbour, or the hatred of that body of sin which alone 
separated her from her divine Saviour. She was not alone 
the consolatrix of the poor, but even their slave, and no ser 
vice appeared to her to be too repulsive, too difficult, too mean, 
for each one of them was, in her eyes, the living image of the 
Heavenly Spouse of her soul. Those amongst the sick whose 
disorders inspired all with disgust, and drove every one from 
them, became the objects of her care and tenderness, and her 
royal hands rendered to them every assistance. She spoke to 
them with familiarity, and often kissed their ulcers and fright 
ful sores. In the memory of man was never heard of so won 
derful a triumph over the repugnance of the senses, united to 
so much ardour and perseverance in the practice of the most 
humble devotion. All were astonished that such a life (the 
like of which had never been heard of, even in the histories 
of the saints) should have been voluntarily chosen by the 
daughter of a king ; but the Spirit from above inspired her 
with that holy violence to which the kingdom of Heaven has 
been promised as a reward. 

Such practices were far from obtaining for her universal 
sympathy or approbation, and there were found even pious 
people to say that she went too far ; but she had too fully 
conquered herself to shrink before the opinions of men. One 
day when going to the Church she met a poor man whom she 
brought home, and whose hands and feet she washed : this 
time, the occupation so disgusted her that she shuddered, but 
immediately she repressed this feeling and said to herself, 
" Ah, ugly mouth, so thou dislikest this know then that it 
is a salutary drink ;" so saying she drank the water she had 
just used, and added : " Oh, Lord, when you were on the 
Crow, you tasted vinegar and gall I am not worthy of that 



OF HUITOART. 201 

A.id me to become more worthy of partaking your sufferings/ 
Lepers, who on account of the so easily spread contagion of 
their fearful malady, were objects of horror to mankind in 
general, were on this account more beloved and tenderly 
cared for by her. She bathed them herself, and often cut up 
curtains and other precious cloths to dry them after leaving 
the bath ; she made their beds and laid them in them. " I 
how happy are we," said she one day to her attendants, " to 
be able thus to cleanse and clothe our Lord 1" To which one 
of them replied : " You, madam, may surely find it agreeable, 
but I know not if others would like it as well." 

Master Conrad thought that her charity led her beyond 
the limits of Christian prudence, and he forbade her to touch 
or to kiss the sores of the lepers, or other sick people, lest she 
should contract their maladies, but this precaution failed, for 
the grief that prohibition caused to her compassionate heart 
was so great that she fell seriously ill. 

But it was not alone to the corporal necessities of her 
brethren that this ardent disciple of Christ confined her soli 
citude and benevolence she never lost sight of the weal of, 
and spiritual remedies for their souls. She added to the 
tender care she always gave them, pious and frequent exhort 
ations. She watched carefully that poor people should have 
their children baptized immediately after birth, and that all 
the sick should ask for and receive the holy Sacraments, not 
alone at their last hour, but also when they entered the hos 
pital. Though her own example, added to these exhortations, 
should have been all-powerful, yet she sometimes met with 
resistance from souls embittered by misfortune, or rendered 
tepid by a long absence from their duties as members of the 
Church ; then did she unite the energy of Christian zeal to 
her habitual sweetness. 

One day a blind man presented himself at the hospital and 
demanded admittance. Elizabeth came up at the same mo- 



LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

ment, accompanied by Master Conrad ; she joyfully consented 
to the poor man s admission on condition that he would com 
mence by healing the wounds of his soul, and approach the 
tribunal of penance. But the blind man, impatient from hia 
malady, and annoyed by this exhortation, began to blaspheme 
and to curse such superstitious customs, as he called them ; 
Elizabeth, indignant at such language, reproved him with 
such vehemence that he was suddenly touched with compunc 
tion, and kneeling, he immediately confessed his sins to Mas 
ter Conrad. 

Far from confining the exercise of her benevolence to this 
hospital, Elizabeth, attended by her maidens, was in the 
habit of visiting the huts of the poor people in the neighbour 
hood of Marbourg, and at the same time of bringing to them 
bread, meat, and other food which she distributed herself. 
With a deep interest she inquired even into the most trifling 
details of their manner of living, and carefully examined their 
clothes and bed-covering, that she might know what would 
be most suitable to relieve their wants. 

She distributed amongst them all the money she had re 
ceived for her jewels, rings, silken vesture, and other remnants 
of her worldly life, which she had secretly sold. She waa 
always ready to perform even the most menial offices for these 
poor people and to supply their least wants. One day in 
winter a sick woman asked her for some fish ; Elizabeth ran 
immediately to a neighbouring stream, invoking thus the 
Divine Provider of all good : " Lord Jesus Christ, if it be 
jour will, send me some fish for your suffering one." And 
having searched the water she found therein a large fish, with 
which she hastened to gratify her patient. 

When on her benevolent missions she met with any crea 
ture whose weakness or state of suffering seemed to her to 
require a special exercise of compassion, or if their devotion 
or resignation was more perfect than that of other paticnU, 



OF HUNGARY. 391 

ihe would bring them not only to her hospital, bnt even inU 
her own dwelling, there to nurse them with the tenderer 
care, and to make them sit at her own table. Conrad remou 
strated with her on this subject, but she replied to him, " C 
my dear Master, leave them to me ! Remember my past lift 
in the pride and pomp of the world ; we must cure an evil b) 
its contrary virtue. I must now live with the poor and hum 
ble ; this society is fruitful in graces to me, let me enjoy it." 

One of those whom she thus adopted was a little boy, 
without father or mother a paralytic from his birth, one- 
eyed, and suffering always from a most repulsive malady. 
This poor being, overwhelmed with so much misery, received 
from her more than a mother s care. She used to pass 
whole nights watching by his side, rendering to him the 
most humiliating services, and tenderly consoling him with 
the most affectionate words. 

He died, and was succeeded in her care by a young girl 
stricken with a leprosy so fearful, that in the hospital no one 
would dare to touch her, nor even to look at her. As loon 
as Elizabeth saw her she approached with a pious veneration 
as if it was the Lord who had deigned to present Himself to 
her concealed in the person of this poor creature under a veil 
of sorrows , the Princess knelt before her, and notwithstand 
ing the child s resistance, she took off her shoes, and began to 
bathe the ulcers, to anoint them with the prescribed remedies, 
to cut off the toe and finger nails, and altogether to tend her 
with such pious skill that the condition of the patient rapidly 
improved. After removing her to her own dwelling, Eliza 
beth used to spend many hours by her bed-side, playing with 
her to attract her attention from her suffering, and always 
speaking to her in language the most consoling. However, 
when Conrad learned the conduct of his penitent, he removed 
the leper from her, lest she should catch the disorder, and for 
Ibis excesi of zeal imposed on her a penance so severe that ht 



94 LIFX vf ST. ELIZABETH, 

afterwards thought himself bound to repent of it to the Pops. 

But Elizabeth, whose indefatigable ardour nothing could 
discourage, replaced her patient by a little child affiicted 
with a complaint almost as revolting as the leprosy and this 
child sne treated with a care and skill with which Charitj 
alone, that supreme science, could inspire her. She kept thii 
patient with her until her death. 

Still the lepers were the objects of her predilection, we 
might almost say of her envy, as no other sickness so com 
pletely detached its victims from this life 

Brother Gerard, Provincial of the Franciscans in Germany 
and who was, after Master Conrad, the friend to whom she 
most intimately confided her pious thoughts, came to visit 
ner one day, and she began to speak of the joys of holy 
ooverty towards the end of their discourse she said : " Ah, 
Father, what in ray heart I would like best, would be to be 
treated like a leper. I would wish to be given a straw- 
thatched hovel, like those in which people place such suf 
ferers, and that it would have before the door a rag, and a 
little box into which the passers-by might sometimes throw an 
alms." At these words she fell into a kind of ecstasy, during 
which the Father Provincial who raised her from the ground 
heard her chauuting hymns. Soon after this she was restored 
to her usual state of being. 

We may be permitted to embody in this recital some 
account of how persons stricken with leprosy, and the disor 
der itself, were considered and treated during Catholic ages, 
particularly as our doing so will more clearly explain the 
meaning of the words above recorded, as uttered by our dear 
itaint. 

In these times of universal faith, Religion was the absolute 
sovereign of society, and consequently was enabled to meet 
erery e\iJ with some remedy, and from extreme human mi- 
lery she cultivated all the noble feelings of piety and charity 



or HUNGARY. 295 

in Christian souls. Not being able to resist the deplorable 
material sufferings which were sure to result from the fearful 
malady, she was, at least, omnipotent in destroying the iroral 
reprobation, which in later times would be sure to attach 
itself to the unhappy victims of this disorder so the Chireh, 
in a manner, consecrated them, as the representatives of the 
burthen of human sorrow, from which Jesus Christ had 
rescued mankind, and which this holy Mother taught 
her children to revere in the persons of their thus afflicted 
brethren. 

Leprosy, then, was at this time a something sacred in the 
sight of the Church and the people it was a gift from God, 
a special distinction, even as it were, a mark of Divine atten 
tion. The hand of God, the ever just and merciful Father, 
had touched a Christian had stricken His child in a myste 
rious manner, and one to heal which human science was un 
availing ; thenceforth there was something venerable in his 
affliction. Solitude, reflection and retreat with God alone 
became necessary for a leper, but the love and prayers of his 
brethren followed him to his retirement. 

The Church knew how to reconcile the most tender solici 
tude for these her suffering children, with the measures 
required to ensure the health of all, by preventing the spread 
of contagion. Perhaps there is not in her Liturgy a more 
affecting and solemn ceremonial than that called Separatio 
Leprosorum, which she used when separating one stricken by 
God, in towns where there was no leper-hospital. In his 
presence the Mass for the Dead was celebrated, and all the 
furniture and utensils required for him were blessed, after 
which every one present gave an alms, and the clergy, pre 
ceded by a Cross-bearer, and accompanied by all the faithful, 
conducted him to the solitary hut assigned to him for a dwell 
ing place. On the roof of this house the priest laid son* 
wmsecrated earth from a burial ground saving, 



t96 LIFE 07 ST. ELIZABETH, 

*Sii mortoua m undo, rivens itrum Deo. 1 * 
"Be tbou J*ad to the world, living again to God." 

Fhc priest then addressed to him a consolatory lisconrse 
wherein he depicted the joys of Paradise, and the community 
of spirit with the Church whose prayers would be more UD 
ccasingly offered for him in solitude than before. 

Then he erected a wooden cross before the door, and ap 
pended to it a little box for alms, after which every one went 
away. At Easter only, the lepers were permitted to leave 
their tombs, in commemoration of Christ s resurrection, when 
they might enter into villages aiid towns to share in the 
universal joy of Christendom. When these sufferers died in 
isolation, the Church celebrated their obsequies with the office 
for Confessors not Bishops. 

The feelings of the Church were always responded to by her 
children. Hence the lepers received from the people the most 
affectionate and consoling names. They called them, " God s 
own sick ones God s dear poor The good people." They 
loved to remember that Jesns Christ Himself had beD pre 
figured as a leper by the Holy Spirit, " Et nos putavimus 
eum quasi leprosum ;" that He was the guest of a leper when 
Mary Magdalene poured on him the precious ointment and 
washed his feet with her tears ; that he had chosen the 
ieper Lazarus as the type of the elect soul ; and that He had 
frequently assumed that form when appearing to his saints on 
earth, as we read in the legends of St. Julian, St. Leo IX., 
pope, St. Martyrius, &c. &c Besides this, also, it was from 
the Pilgrimages to he Holy Land and the Crusades that the 
leprosy was brought into Europe, and this derivation added 
to its sacred character. 

An order of knights had been formed at Jerusalem, that of 
St. Lazarus, to consecrate itself exclusively to the service of 
lepers, one of whom was chosen its Grand Master ; and an 
order of women had consecrated themselves to the 



or HUNGARY. 297 

object in the same city, at the Hospice of St John th 
almoner. 

Amongst the sovereigns and nobles of the earth, our Eliza 
beth was not the only one of royal race who honoured Christ 
In these successors of Lazarus illustrious and powerful 
princes regarded this duty as one of the prerogatives of their 
crowns. Robert, king of France, incessantly visited their 
hospitals. St. Louis treated them with fraternal affection, 
visited them at the Quarter Tenses, and kissed their ulcers. 
Henry III. of England did the same. The Countess Sybella 
of Flanders, having accompanied her husband Theodoric to the 
Holy Land, employed the time while he was fighting against 
the infidels, in the above-mentioned hospital of St. John, 
tending the lepers. One day, as she bathed their sores, she 
felt, as once did our Elizabeth, her senses revolting against so 
unpleasing an occupation ; to chastise herself she took some 
of the water in her mouth and swallowed it saying, "Thou 
must learn to serve God in His poor, it is a good occupation 
for thee, why then dost thou permit thy heart to shrink from 
it ?" When her husband was leaving Palestine, she requested 
his permission to remain there, in order to devote the remain 
der of her life to the service of the lepers. 

Her brother, Baldwin III., king of Jerusalem, joined his 
prayers to those of this heroine of charity ; the Count resisted 
for a long time, and did not consent to part from Sybella 
until he had received from his brother-in-law, as a recompense 
for his sacrifice, a priceless relic, a drop of blood from our 
Lord s sacred body, saved by Joseph of Arimathea at the 
taking down from the Cross. He returned alone to his coun 
try, carrying with him this sacred treasure, which he enshrined 
at Bruges, and the pious people of Flanders heard, with great 
veneration, how their Count had sold his wife to Christ and 
His poor, and how he received as hr price the blood of theii 
God. 

13* 



298 LIFE Or ST. ELIZABETH, 

But abore all, the saints of the middle ages are those who 
treated lepers with a sublime devction. 

St. Catherine of Sienna had her hands affected with it 
while attending a poor old woman who was its victim ; but 
after persevering to the end in her noble sacrifice, and bury- 
icg her poor patient, her handa became as pure and white as 
those of a little child, and a halo of mild light played around 
the parts that had been most affected. St. Francis of Assis- 
ium and St. Clare his noble companion, St. Odila of Alsace, 
St. Judith of Poland, St. Edmund of Canterbury, and later 
still, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Jane Frances de Chantal, 
took pleasure in humbly serving the lepers ; and often the 
prayers of these holy souls obtained for the afflicted ones an 
instantaneous cure. 

In this glorious company Elizabeth had already taken her 
place, by the unceasing aspirings of her soul to God who was 
ever present to her in the persons of the poor. But whilst 
awaiting her summons to a blissful eternity with them, no 
thing could satiate the desires of her compassionate heart, 
nor soothe the languishing of her soul, so often suffering from 
tre contemplation of the miseries of her fellow creatures. 



F HUNGARY. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

<OW THE DF AR ST. ELIZABETH REFUSED TO RETURN TO HKB rATHXE*! 
KINGDOM CT ORDER THAT SHE MIGHT MORE SURELY ENTER TH1 
KINGPCM OP HEAVEN. 

"Begimm inumll et omnem ornatum sncull contempsl propter ainorem Domini 
Mel Jean (Jhristl, qutin vidi, quern amavL, In quern credidl, quern dilexi." Roman 
Breviary, 

" In nidulo meo moriar." Job rxlx. 18. 

IN the mean time the King of Hungary, the rich and 
powerful father of this poor nursing mother of the sick, heard 
from the Hungarian pilgrims who returned from Aix la 
Chapelle and other holy places on the banks of the Rhine, 
of the state of poverty and desolation to which his daughter 
was reduced. They related to him how shocked they were 
to find that their princess lived without honours, without a 
court, without the least possible mark of her royal rank. 

The king was alarmed and moved even to tears on learning 
this story, he complained before his council of the injuries 
done his child, and resolved to send an ambassador to bring 
her to him. He confided this mission to Count Banfi ; thii 
noble set out for Thuringia, and soon arrived at Wartbourg. 
He there found the Landgrave Henry, and demanded from 
him the reason of the extraordinary position wherein the 
Duchess was placed The Prince thus replied to him : " My 
sister has beccme quite mad, every one Knows it, you will 
see it yourself." He then related to the Count how she had 
retired to Marburg, the extraordinary life she led there, tend 
ing the lepers and associating only with the poor, with many 
other details of this kind. 

He pointed out to the Ambassador how Elizabeth s poverty 
was quite voluntary, as he had ensured to her the posses- 



800 LIFE OF ST. E11ZABETH, 

rion of all she could desire. The Count was astonished, and 
set out for Marburg. When he arrived there he asked the 
inn-keeper with whom he stopped, what he thought of the 
Lady named Elizabeth who had come from Hungary to this 
count | why lived she thus in misery ; why she quitted 
the pniices of her late husband s family ; and whether there 
was any charge against hei honour. " She is a most pious 
lady and right virtuous," replied the inn-keeper, " she is aa 
rich as she can wish to be, for this city and its neighbourhood, 
which is extensive, is her sole property ; and if she wished, 
she could have chosen from amongst many princes a spouse. 
But in her great humility she lives thus in misery, she would 
not dwell in the city, but remains near the hospital which she 
built, for she despises all this world s wealth. God conferred 
on us a great favour in sending to us this pious lady, it is 
profitable to the salvation of all eveji to come in contact with 
her. She never wearies in her works of charity, she is most 
chaste, most gentle, most merciful, but beyond all, she is 
the most humble woman in the world. 

The Count then asked this good man to bring him to her ; 
when arrived the inn-keeper went in first and said : " Madam 
here is one of your friends seeking you, and who I think 
wishes to speak to you." The A mbassador having entered the 
hut, and seeing the daughter ol his royal master engaged at 
work, was so affected that he burst into tears, and making 
the sign of the Cross he cried out, " Did any one ever before 
see a king s daughter spinning wool ?" Being seated then 
beside her he began to tell how her father had sent him to 
ieek her, and to bring her back to the country wherein she 
was born, where she would be treated with all the honour 
due to her rank, and where the king would ever regard her 
as his best beloved child But she listened not to his persua 
sions. " For what do you take me ?" said she to him, " I 
am but a poor sinrsr who nerer obeyed the law of God as J 



Or HUNGARY. 301 

ought to have done." "And who has redaced you to thii 
state of misery ?" asked the Count. " No one," replied she, 
" but the infinitely rich Son of my Heavenly Father, who ha* 
taught me by his example to despise riches and to love pov 
erty beyond all the kingdoms of this world." And then she 
told him her history since her widowhood, and her inten 
tions for her future life. She assured him that she had no 
reason to complain of any one, that she wanted not for any 
thing, and that she was perfectly happy. 

Notwithstanding this contentment, the Count strove to 
induce her to accompany him. " Come," said he, " noble 
Queen, come with me to your dear father, come, possess 
your kingdom and your inheritauoe/ "I hope indeed," 
replied she, " that I already possess my Father s inheritance, 
that is to say, the eternal mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Still the Ambassador entreated of her not to afflict her 
royal father by leading a life so unworthy of her rank, and 
not to grieve him by refusing to accede to his hope that she 
would return to him. " Say to my dearest lord and father," 
replied Elizabeth, " that I am more happy in this contemp 
tible life than he is in his regal pomp, and that far from sor 
rowing over me, he ought to rejoice that he has a child in the 
service of the King of Heaven. All that I ask of him is to 
pray, and to have prayers offered for me, and I will cease 
lessly pray for him as long as life is left me." 

The Count seeing that all his efforts were vain, took leave 
of her with sincere grief. But she returned to her spindle, 
Happy to be able, as she had renounced all for Jesus, to re 
alize in anticipation the sublime words which the Church uses 
in the office of holy women : 

" The kingdom of this world and all the vanities of the 
age have 1 despised for the love of my Lord Jesus Christ, 
Him whom I have seen, whom I have loved, in whom I hart 
Ulieved, and whom I have preferred." 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

OH TBB DEAR ST. ELIZABETH DISTRIBUTED ALL 3EB PRODUCT 

AMONGST THE POOR. 

M W dofertt homo oranera substantiam domus ejus pro dlleetlone, quad nlki 
deapiclet earn." CunMc. Till. 7. 

" Galore charltatis 
Calefactl panperes 
Juxta i trim as nudltatis 
Ltantur Immemores." 

Anthem of St. Elizabeth, in ths and** 
Breviary of fh Dominican*. 

HOWEVER convinced the Landgrave Henry might have 
been of the folly of his sister-in-law, he did not think himself 
the less obliged to fulfil the promises he had of his free will 
made to her ; the fear of the Pope who had constituted himself 
Elizabeth s protector, and the influence of Conrad of Mar 
burg, which was as great over him as it had been over his 
brother Louis, might have contributed to this fidelity. He 
sent her then the five hundred marks of silver that he had 
promised at the time of her departure from Wartbourg to 
defray the expense incurred in forming her new establishment. 

This increase of riches appeared to the charitable princess 
as a favourable opportunity for realizing a project whic\ she 
had long entertained, namely, that of throwing off the care of 
the wealth which she held as her private property by depriving 
herself of the means of enjoying it. 

Regardless of the order of Master Conrad, and oerhap 
anknown to him, she had parted with all that her brother-in- 
law had been obliged to restore to her at the return of the 
Crusade* knights, and this produced the very considerable 



OF HUNGARY. 808 

Bum, for those times, of two thousand marks. " She endea- 
Youred," says one of her pious historians, "to use the changeful 
riches of this world in such a manner, as would tend to purchase 
for her the changeless happiness of eternal life." She sold al] 
the jewels that remained in her possession, and all the pre 
sents that had been sent her by her relatives in Hungary ; 
amongst them, vases of gold and silver, stuffs embroidered in 
gold and some ornaments set with gems of the highest value. 
All the money that she received for these, as well as what she 
derived from her domains, she distributed amongst the poor 
at different times, and so abundantly, that it gained for her 
the reputation of being wasteful and even mad, from those 
who stood not in need of her assistance. But she was not 
grieved by this, for she knew that it was good to buy her 
eternal salvation by sacrificing these perishable riches When 
she received the five hundred marks from Duke Henry, she 
resolved to give it all away at one time. To give her charity 
an extension proportionate to the sum of which she had to 
dispose, she had published in every place for twenty-five 
leagues around Marburg, that all the poor were to assemble 
on a certain day in a plain near Wehrda, that village wherein 
sh. 1 had passed the first days of her voluntary poverty. 

At the appointed time there came there several thousand 
m< ndicants, blind, lame and infirm of both sexes ; and in 
addition a vast crowd to witness this extraordinary spectacle. 
To maintain order in this multitude the Duchess had appointed 
officers, robust men, whose duty it was to keep all in their 
places, so that thus strict justice was established in distribut 
ing the alms equally amongst the poor, who were too frequently 
rude and impatient, and care was taken that none could apply 
twice, tbus to deprive some other of his destined portion. 
Elizabeth ordered that any one who should transgress thii 
rule by leaving a place, should have hi or her hair cut off 
immediately. 



304 LIT! OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

A young girl named Radegonda, remarkable for the 
beauty of her hair, having been discovered leaving her 
place, was deprived of the fair ringlets, which, according 
to the custom of the maidens of Marburg, she wore flowing 
down over her shoulders. Radegonda began to weep and cry 
out loudly. She was brought before the Duchess, who at first 
congratulated her on being, from the loss of her tresses, no 
longer able to share in profane rejoicings ; and then with the 
profound instinct of holy souls, Elizabeth asked her if ever 
she had entertained the project of leading a better life. Ra 
degonda replied : " A long time ago I would have consecrated 
myself to the Lord by assuming the religious habit, if it were 
not too great an effort to sacrifice the beauty of my hair." 
At these words Elizabeth cried out joyfully : "I am happier 
then that they have cut away thy curls, than if I heard that 
my son was elected Emperor of the Romans." She then took 
with her this young girl, who, profiting of the warning in 
voluntarily received that day, consecrated herself to the 
service of God and of the poor in the hospital founded by the 
Duchess. 

Meanwhile the announced distribution was made by steady 
and faithful men whom Elizabeth had appointed for the pur 
pose. She presided over all, and went from rank to rank 
girded round with a cloth, as was our Lord when he minis 
tered to his disciples. She wandered amongst the vast 
assemblage, glorying in and enjoying the happiness of which 
she was the cause her face serene and tranquil, gladness in 
her heart, gentle and affectionate words upon her lips, parti 
cularly when addressing ths strangers whom she saw for the 
first time, adding a sweet gaiety to her compassion, a celes 
tial simplicity to her boundless generosity, finding at every 
step new comfort for new sorrows. This daughter of a king 
found herself at length in the midst of a court that well 
pleased her, truly Queen of that day by her mercy ; there 



O* HUNGARY. SOft 

she in the midst of her army of poor, as an enthroned sove 
reign, and notwithstanding the miserable costume which she 
had adopted, to the admiring eyes of those whose griefs she 
assuaged, she appeared as brilliant as the sun, and clad in 
garments whiter than the snow. 

The five hundred marks distributed, night began to fail, 
and the moon rose in unclouded splendour, the poor people 
set out to regain their distant homes ; but a great number 
were too feeble to be able to depart so soon, and these were 
preparing to pass the night in some of the buildings adjacent 
to the hospital. Elizabeth at her return perceived them, and 
always influenced by her tender compassion, she said to her 
attendants, " Ah, here are some poor creatures, let us give 
them something." Upon which she handed to each one six 
pence of Cologne, and gave to the little children amongst 
them as much as to the grown people. 

Then she sent for a great quantity of bread and distributed 
it to them, after which she said, " I wish that these poor 
ones should enjoy an entire feast, give them some fire." 
According to her orders large fires were kindled, and the at 
tendants washed the feet of the weary travellers. These poor 
ones seeing themselves so well treated, rejoiced and began to 
sing. Elizabeth hearing their cheerful voices, felt her tender 
and innocent heart moved, and cried out joyfully, "I said 
indeed that we ought to make these poor people as happy ai 
possible," and immediately she went forth to witness their 
gladness. 

Well, oh, noble and holy soul, did you study the wonder 
ful power of contributing to the happiness of others! So se 
vere and pitiless to yourself, you were early initiated into the 
plenitude of this heart-touching mystery! 

The terrestrial bliss that you completely renounced in your 
own life, you sought with generous perseverance to bestow 
upou your poor brethren ! 



806 LIFB 09 ST. ELIZABETH, 

How we rejoice in thinking that in Heaven where yon 
receive the eternal reward of all fervent charity, yon are still 
animated by the pions solicitude that replenished your heart 
when on earth I and how consoling it is to us to believe that 
the poor souls who, in their sadness and poverty, call npon 
yon from this world of woe, are not unheeded by this inex 
haustible pity, which has but acquired redoubled energy and 
ardour from your blessed immortality ! 



OF HUNGARY. 307 



CHAPTER XXVII 

10W THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH LEARNED PROM MASTER CONRAD, HOW 
LH ALL THINGS TO DESTROY SELF-WILL. 

" Meltor est obedientia quain v1ctiin." 1 Reg. xv. 22. 

44 "Wo* to them tlwt disdain to humble themselves willingly with the little chtldrw, 
for the low gate of the heavenly kingdom will not suffer them to enter thither." 
1m, of Chriitt, B. iii. C. 68. 

WE may have thought that nothing now hindered our 
Elizabeth from arriving at the end she had so courageously 
proposed to herself, the exclusive love of God and of her 
brethren in God, and the entire contempt of this world and 
all that it contains. Yet in this wonderful path of Christian 
perfection she had still many obstacles to surmount, many 
victories, and these the most difficult of all to gain. 

It was not sufficient for her to have conquered the love of 
this earth and all its fleeting pleasures, she had still to com 
bat against that which it is the greatest task of all to van 
quish, her own will 

It became necessary that however pure this will might be, 
however eager for Heaven, however detached from terrestrial 
matters, it should do nothing of itself, but that it should 
bend before every inspiration of the Divine Will, like an ear 
of corn laden with its grains, awaiting the coming of th 
Heavenly gleaner to gather it for eternity. 

The common Father of the faitl ful had specially charged 
one person with the care of this precious soul. 

Master Conrad of Marburg well knew what Elizabeth 
was capable of doing for God s love, and he resolved to lead 
her to the supreme attainment of evangelical perfection, by a 



308 LIFE 01 ST. ELIZABETH, 

way, repugnant enough, surely, to these wise times, and still 
more so to the sensuality and tepidity of our languid souls, 
so utterly unaccustomed to all ideas of lively and practical 
faith, but which provoked no murmurs, nor even excited 
surprise, in those ages of heartfelt simplicity, of absolute 
abandonment, at least in intention, to all that could unite the 
soul to God. 

We do not here purpose to defend, absolutely, all the con 
duct of Master Conrad towards his illustrious penitent ; the 
natural violence of his character, to which he at length fell a 
victim, nray have often led him beyond the bounds of Chris 
tian moderation ; but we can say that, not only was such 
conduct authorized by numerous examples throughout all 
Christian ages, but that even we prefer, rather than to judge 
harshly of the character of such a man, to associate ourselves 
in the entire submission of this noble princess, who in all 
things sought to bend her head to the Divine Yoke, and to 
follow in the footsteps of Him " Who for our sakes became 
obedient even unto the death of the Cross." 

Master Conrad having then resolved to combat and to 
eradicate from the soul of Elizabeth the only source of hu 
man consolation which he could now discover there, com 
menced by attacking her will in the point where it was most 
praiseworthy and deep-rooted, namely, in the exercise of all 
the works of mercy. 

He placed a restriction, a very cruel one to her, upon her 
generosity, of which we have related so many signal proofs, 
by forbidding her to give any poor person more than out 
penny. Before submitting to so unpleasing a command,. 
Elizabeth sought to eva le it in many ways without being 
disobedient. She first had pence struck of silver instead ol 
copper, and these she gave as pence, though they were equal 
in value to a shilling of the country. The poor people, accus 
tomed to her former munificence, soon began to complain of 



H UNO ART. 304 

the parsimony of her gifts, but she said to them, " I am for 
bidden to give you more than a penny at one time, but that 
does not hinder me from giving one each time you come." 
The mendicants did not fail to profit of this suggestion ; and 
after having received the first donation, they would walk 
around the hospital and then return for another. This con 
duct they carried to excess. 

In place of being affected by these innocent wiles, Conrad 
having discovered them was so angry with her as to give her 
blows, but she endured this punishment with joy, for during 
a long time she had ardently desired to partake of every 
insult that her Divine Saviour had endured before He died 
for her salvation. 

Conrad then prohibited her from giving away money at all, 
but he permitted her to distribute bread. Soon, however, he 
discovered that she was too prodigal of this species of relief, 
and he forbade her to give loaves, but allowed her to share 
them in slices. Still later, he made her cease all alms-giving, 
and left her no means of exercising her ardent charity, but in 
tending the sick and infirm ; and even here he took the pre 
caution of forbidding her all intercourse with those most dear 
to her the lepers and when her compassion forced her to 
transgress this injunction, he hesitated not to strike her se 
verely. We can imagine the grief that Elizabeth experienced 
in finding herself thus deprived of a liberty which during her 
whole life had been so precious and so necessary to her, and 
in thus seeing a barrier raised between her affectionate pity 
and the wants of the unhappy. Nevertheless she felt that her 
new duty had assumed the place of all the others ; she under 
stood that the entire self-denial of which she had made a vow 
required that she should give up everything which afforded 
her enjoyment or human consolation ; and certainly there waa 
much of both for her in the practice of alms-giving. She 
knew how to make the sacrifice, she learned to obey without 



5>10 LIFB OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

a raurmnr, and soon she became well skilled in the siprem 
science which is to a Christian the achievement of victory. 

No fatigue, no trouble seemed too great for her when it 
c/ecame necessary to conform to the wishes of him whom she 
had accustomed herself to regard as the representative of the 
Divine Will towards her. No distance seemed too long for 
her to travel when he sent for her, yet he used not towards 
her any of the inducements that we would be inclined to think 
that her sex, her youth, her rank required ; it would appear 
as if he strove to make the way of salvation rough and thorny 
to her, that she might go before the eternal judge adorned 
with more merit. 

A French writer says : " The holy man did all he could to 
conquer her will, to fix all her love upon God, and to forget 
her former glory. And in all things she was eager to obey 
and firm to endure. In patience she possessed her soul, and 
her victory was ennobled by obedience." 

This obedience was prompt and perfect in the least things, 
as well as in the greatest. 

One day when she had set out to visit a hermit who dwelt 
near Marburg, Conrad sent her word to come back immedi 
ately. She did so, saying smilingly to the messenger, "If 
we are wise we will act like the snails, who in time of rain 
keep within their shells, let us obey and return at once." 
She concealed not the fear that she had of her director, not 
for his own sake, but as God s representative towards her 
She used to say to her maidens, "If I so much fear a mor 
tal man, how far more shall I tremble before God who it 
the Lord arid judge of all mankind." 

This fear was all spiritual, for she had given up her will 
into his keeping, principally because he was poor and deprived 
of all worldly greatness as she wished to be herself. " I have 
chosen," she remarked, " the life of the poorest order because 
it is the most despised, and had there been one still lower I 



OF HUNGARY. 3K 

would have selected it. I could have made a vow of obe 
dience to a Bishop or to a wealthy Abbot, but I preferred 
Master Conrad because he was nothing, he is but a poor 
mendicant, and thus I have no resource in this life." 

And Master Conrad pitilessly used the power with which 
he had invested him. He having been at the convent of 
Aldenburg where her daughter Gertrude was, he had an idea 
of making Elizabeth enter it, and he sent for her to Marburg 
to come and deliberate with him on the subject. She obeyed 
his orders. The nuns having heard of her arrival, asked 
Master Conrad s permission for her to enter the cloister that 
they might see her. He wishing to test her obedience, after 
informing her that any person of either sex who crossed the 
cloister incurred excommunication, said, " Let her go in if she 
wishes." Elizabeth taking these words for permission, en 
tered the prohibited ground. Conrad made her come out im 
mediately, and showing her the book wherein her vow of obe* 
dience to him in all things was inscribed, he ordered a monk 
who accompanied him, to inflict on her and on her maid Ir- 
mengarde, as a penance, a certain number of blows with a 
long stick which he found there. During the execution of 
this sentence Conrad chaunted the Miserere, and the Duchess 
submitted with supernatural patience to this severe punish 
ment for so trifling a fault. 

Speaking of the matter in a little while afterwards to Ir- 
mengarde, she said : " We must patiently endure these chas 
tisements, for we are like reeds growing by the water-side 
when the river overflows the reed bends and the inundation 
passes o^er without breaking it, and when the waters decline 
it rises in its strength and enjoys a new life. If we, too, 
sometimes bend towards the earth in all humility, we can 
arise with new-found joy and confidence. 

On another occasion, Conrad preached on the Passion, 
that Elizabeth might gain the indulgence granted by tht 



312 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

Pope to all who would assist at his sermons, as Commissary 
Apostolic. But absorbed in the care of some newly-admitted 
patients in her hospital, she neglected going to hear him. 
The sermon over, he sent for her, and inquired what she had 
been doing, that caused her absence ; and, without giving 
fter time to reply, he struck her rudely, saying, " Take that, 
to remind yoa to come the next time I send for you." The 
humble and patient princess smiled, and was about to excuse 
herself, when he struck her so severely as to cause blood to 
flow. She raised her eyes to heaven, and kept them fixed 
thereon for some time ; then she said, " Lord, I thank thee 
for having chosen me for this." Her women came to con- 
dol* her, and, seeing her garments blood-stained, they asked 
her how she had been able to endure so many blows. She 
replied, " For having endured them patiently, God permitted 
me to see Christ in the midst of his angels ; for the Master s 
blows elevated me to the third heaven." This saying was 
reported to Conrad, and he cried out, " Then I will for ever 
regret that I did not transport her to the ninth heaven." 

WH repeat, that it is not with the thoughts of this nine 
teenth century we must judge of such scenes. The customs 
of the ascetic life, of Christian trials, are not the same in 
every age of the Church ; but at no time do they merit the 
disdain or contempt of the faithful, for they have ever offered 
to all souls immortal victories of charity, humility, and self 
denial to gain, and the power of achieving a pure and holy 
glory. 

Whilst the Supreme Judge weighed in his eternally just 
balance this severity of his minister and this invincible pa 
tience of his humble spouse, profane men found in these rela 
tions food for their malignity, and prepared for Elizabeth a 
new sacrifice, to join to all those previously offered to her Di 
vine Master. 

After thev had cried her down as wasteful and foolish, 



OF HUNGARY 31J 

ni {,;oclairned everywhere that she had lost her senses, they 
strove to asperse her fair fame by infamous suspicions and 
obscure hints on the nature of her connection with Mast>cc 
Conrad. They said that this monk had seduced the widow 
of Duke Louis, and carried her away to Marburg, there to 
enjoy her property and riches. The youth of the Duchess, 
who was then but about the age of twenty-two years, gave 
a shadow of a pretext for these calumnies. They appeared 
sufficiently serious to the Lord Rodolph de Varila, tc 
induce him to go and visit her. This true and prudent 
knight went then to Marburg, and, approaching the Duch- 
es& with great respect, said to her, " Will you permit me 
madam, to speak to you freely without any reserve?" 
Elizabeth replied humbly that she was most willing U 
listen. "I beg, then," said he, "of my dear lady to watch 
over her renown, for her familiarity with Master Conrad has 
given rise to false notions and unjust suspicions in the minds 
of the vulgar and ignoble herd." Elizabeth raised her eyes 
to heaven, and with an unruffled countenance she replied 
" Blessed in all things be our most dear and merciful Lord 
Jesus Christ, my only Friend, who deigns to receive from 
me this little offering. For his love I devoted myself to his 
service ; I forgot my noble birth ; I despised my riches and 
possessions ; I permitted my youth and beauty to fade away ; 
I renounced my father, my country, my children, and, with 
them, all the consolations of life ; I became poorest of the 
poor. One only treasure did I retain, my womanly honour 
and reputation : but now, from what I learn, it seems that He 
requires that also ; as He accepts, as a special sacrifice, my 
fair fame, I must strive to endure for His sake this ignominy 
I consent to be looked upon as a dishonoured woman ; but 
oh, my dear Lord, remember my poor children ; they are 
innocent ; deign to preserve them from any shame that might 
fall upon them on my account." 
14 



314 LIFK OF BT. ELIZABETH. 

Wishing to assure her old friend, and to testify her gratl 
tude for his devotion, she added, " For your part, my deaf 
lord, have no suspicion of me ; see my wounded shoulders" 
and she bared them, to show the marks of the last blows 
she had received " behold," said she, " the love this holy 
priest entertains for me ! or, rather, see how he animates me 
to the love of God !" " Admirable union," says her histo 
rian, " of humility, patience, and pious prudence, which, while 
rendering glory to God, while enduring unmerited ignominy, 
knew also how to banish thoughts of evil from the mind of 
her neighbour !" 

And it was not alone by those external and corporal pun 
ishments that Conrad exercised the unlimited power where 
with she had intrusted aim ; he strove still more to conquer 
her heart, by tearing from it every fibre of affection and 
effacing every human predilection, in order that it should be 
filled alone with the thought and love of God. Of all the 
enjoyments of her past life, Elizabeth had retained but one, 
and that was, the custom of living with the friends of her 
youth, who had shared in the grandeur of her life as a sove 
reign, who had eaten with her the bread of misery on her 
expulsion from Wartburg, and who at length, inseparable 
and faithful companions as they were, had associated them 
selves in all the voluntary privations of her religious life in 
all her works of mercy in all her penance and her piety. 

It may have been that, unknown to her, the ties of tender 
sympathy which united Elizabeth to her faithful friends had 
softened many a pang had lessened the galling of the yoke 
of so many mortifications and trials ; and this young heart 
which we have seen glowing with unspeakable Charity for all 
mankind, necessarily appreciated this sweet and pious conso 
lation. No intimacy could be more perfect or more beautiful, 
than that which existed between the princess and her attend 
ants, and this may be traced in every line of their narrative! 



Of HUNGARY. 31ft 

of her life. Conrad resolved to rend asunder this chain of 
true friendship. 

One by one, he sent away the retainers of her former 
establishment, and the departure of each caused her inex 
pressible grief. Then he came to her two friends. It was 
first the fate of Ysentrude, whom Elizabeth loved most 
dearly, and from whom she never concealed a thought, 
either before or since her retreat from the world. This faith 
ful friend says, " She was obliged to see me driven from 
her even me, Ysentrude, whom she loved beyond all 
others ; and when parting from me, her heart was almost 
riven with anguish, and the tears were streaming from her 
eyes." And afterwards, Guta, who had never left her since 
she was five years old, and to whom she was most tenderly 
attached, was sent away, nowithstanding the bitter sobbing 
and weeping of the suffering Elizabeth. 

" It seemed to her," says a pious historian, (Pere Kochem,) 
frhose simple language we love to quote on this subject, " as 
if her heart was broken ; and this faithful servant of God 
preserved this grief until her death. Any true soul can com 
prehend this easily, for there is not in this world a greater 
sorrow then /"hen two faithful hearts are separated. 0, dear 
St. Ehzabotl 1 I recall this parting to thy memory, and, by 
the bitter au/uish thou didst suffer then with thy best-beloved 
friends, obtain for me the grace to understand what evil it 
was in me to separate myself, by sin, so often from my 
God!" 

The victim then, before the God to whom she had immo- 
ated herself, was not permitted even the consolation of 
entire solitude. Conrad replaced these cherished companions 
of her loneliness by two women of a very different stamp 
One, named Elizabeth, was chosen from amongst the com 
mon people, tolerably pious, but excessively vulgar and 
njde and, withal, so ugly, that even to mention her wu 



316 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH 



sufficient to frighten children. The other was a widow, old, 
and deaf, of a bitter-speaking and revengeful character, alwayi 
discontented and wrathful. 

Elizabeth resigned herself to this annoying change in her 
household with perfect docility. She strove to advance in 
humility by her intercourse with the rude peasant, and to 
learn patience by submitting to the invectives of the ever- 
angry old woman. These two servants gave her every day 
many trials, and treated her very badly. 

Far from opposing her when, through a spirit of penance, 
she was anxious to share in their labours and domestic cares, 
they on the contrary permitted her to do the most fatiguing 
work, to sweep the house, &c. ; and when watching by the 
kitchen fire, the princess would be sometimes so absorbed in 
religious contemplation, as to suffer the meagre food upon it 
to burn, then her servants would reproach her bitterly, and 
taunt her that she did not even know how to make a soup. 
"Yet during her life the royal lady had never learned to 
Rook, )f says the good friar whom we have before quoted. 

These women also pitilessly denounced her to Master Con 
rad, whenever she obeyed the compassionate impulse of her 
heart, and gave alms, forgetting the command she found it 
BO difficult to submit to, and elicited for her from her di 
rector severe reproof. But nothing ould render her un 
faithful for an instant, nor even excite an involuntary move 
ment of impatience to the entire submission she had vowed 
to him who seemed to her to be specially charged to conduct 
her prompth and surely to the eternal country. So scru 
pulous was her docility, that when her former dearly beloved 
friends, Ysentrude and Guta, came to visit her, she scarcely 
dared to salute them, or to offer them any refreshment, 
until she had received permission from Master Conrad. 

Yet still another trial was in store for this soul, so loving, 
yet withal so determined to crush its own tender feelings , 



OF HUNGARY. 

and this was to be a new source of triumph. We have seen 
how she was separated from her children, whom she cher 
ished with a devotion so intense, that her love of God alone 
could surpass it ; yet this separation had neither been com 
plete nor absolute the maternal heart could not be stilled, 
and if she had riot always one or other of her children with 
her, which the expression of some of her biographers would 
lead us to think, she at least had these dear ones frequently 
brought to visit her, to console her by their presence, to 
permit her to express in some little manner her unspeakable 
love, by looking on them, caressing them, and imprinting 
kisses a thousand-fold on their young brows. But soon she 
discovered that in her heart there was not room for two loves, 
that no creature should partake of what she had devoted to 
God. She found that the presence and fondling of her chil 
dren hindered her from applying herself with her usual assi 
duity to prayer. She feared to love any creature more than 
God, and whether at the instigation of Master Conrad, or 
from her own determination, we know not she sent away 
for ever from her these last and most fervently cherished of 
all the sources of her earthly happiness. 

So many supernatural victories of the Divine Grace which 
Elizabeth regarded as her only and absolute Sovereign, could 
not remain long unknown ; and it was not even in heaven 
alone that they were to receive the entire of their ineffable 
reward. Men at last prepared themselves to do homage to 
this heroine of faith and charity, and to reward the children 
whom she had, as it were, abandoned for God s love by 
paying to them all the veneration with which an age of faith 
could invest the offspring of a saint. 

Scarcely had a few years flown by, when, at the great 
Assembly held by King Louis IX. of France, was seen a 
young German prince, about eighteen years old He served 
with the Count de Saint Pol and the Count de Boulogne ul 



318 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

the table of the Queen even of the Queen of France, who 
during the middle ages was to all true knights the supreme 
type of feminine beauty and excellence. Blanche of Castille 
then filled this proud position. The attendants whispered one 
another that this youth was the son of St. Elizabeth of Thur- 
ingia, and that Queen Blanche often embraced him with devo 
tion, seeking on his fair forehead the traces of the fond kisses 
his noble mother had impressed there. It was thus that the 
mother of a saint did homage to the son of a saint ; it was 
in these touching and pious kisses that were associated in 
history and in the memory of men, as they were incessantly 
united before God, the tender, fervent, and pure souls oi 
Saint LeaijB of France and St. ElimHHh of Hungary. 



HUNGARY. 31t 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

OW THE LORD EXERCISED HIS POWER AND HIS MERCY AT TH1 
PfTERCESSrON OF THE DEAR SAINT ELIZABETH, AND OF THJ 
MARVELLOUS EFFICACY OF HER PRAYERS. 

" Fecit mihi magna qul potens eet. n 8. Luke t. 4. 
" VolurUtem timentinui se faciet, et depreoationem eorum exaudit,* 

P. cxlir. 80. 

THE time was approaching when Elizabeth should be sum 
moned to receive from her Heaveuly Father, the eternal recom 
pense of the trials of her short life ; but before calling her to 
share in His glory, it pleased the Almighty to surround the 
remainder of her days with a halo of majesty, to invest her in 
the eyes, even of those who had persecuted and calumniated 
her, with a power emanating from His own, and to commit to 
this weak woman, who had so nobly vanquished the failings of 
our fallen nature, the supernatural strength to conquer in, 
and to exterminate from her brethren all the miseries which 
are the result of sin. 

It will be no longer by her deep compassion, by her affec 
tionate sympathy, by her boundless generosity, by her un 
wearied devotion alone, that we shall see her occupied in 
solacing the woes of the unhappy, and in bearing with them 
their burthens ; the Divine Charity to which nothing is im 
possible and which was identified with her life, thenceforward 
received an impulse so great, that one word, or one prayer 
from her lips sufficed to dissipate and drive away for ever the 
sufferings which before she could but strive to heal. 

Thenceforth when devotion or charity summoned her from 
her miserable dwelling, it was to exercise, not only the 



520 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

promptingi of her own kindliness, but also the miraculous 
power which the Lord is often pleased to confer on His chosen 
souls ; and the new blessings which she obtained for her poor 
ones, preserved by their memories even in the least details, 
with the most affecting particularity, afford to us the latest 
and most brilliant testimony of her sanctity. 

No day passed that she did not go twice to visit her hos 
pital patients, and bring to them all that was necessary foi 
their maintenance and comfort. One morning when she 
arrived at this hospital, she saw on the threshold of its door, 
a lame and deformed boy lying motionless. He was a poor, 
deaf and dumb child, whose limbs were all distorted by a 
painful malady, so that he could only drag himself along on 
his hands and feet like an unclean animal. His mother, who 
was ashamed of his appearance, had brought him to that place 
and left him there in the hope that the good Duchess would 
have compassion on him. 

Indeed when Elizabeth came up she looked upon him with 
anxious pity, and bending gently over him she said : " Tell 
me, dear child, where are thy parents ? who brought thee 
hither ?" But as the boy did not seem to hear her, she 
repeated the question in a clear, sweet-toned voice, and caress 
ing him added, " From what dost thou suffer ? wilt thou not 
speak ?" The child looked at her without answering ; Eliza 
beth not knowing that he was dumb, imagined that he was 
possessed by some demon, and feeling her pity for him in 
crease, she said in a loud voice, " In the name of our Lord I 
command thee, and him that is in thee, to reply, and to tell 
me whence thou earnest." 

At that moment the child stood erect before her speech 
was given to him and he said, "It was my mother who 
brought me." He then related to her how he had never 
heard nor spoken before, that from his birth he had been as 
she found him, feeble and deformed in all his body. " But 



OF HUNGARY. 821 

flow," said he, extending Hs limbs one after the other, "be 
hold God has given me motion, and speech, and hearing, and 
I say words that I never learned from any one." Then he 
wept and thanked God. " I knew not God," he continued, 
" for all my senses were dead, I knew not what man was 
but now I feel that I am no longer like a beast. I can speak 
of God. Blessed be the words of your mouth, that obtained 
for me the grace of not dying in the state wherein I have 
hitherto lived." At these expressions of the feelings of a soul 
newly awakened by Omnipotent power to a knowledge of God 
and of itself, Elizabeth knew what it had pleased the Almighty 
to permit her to work, but alarmed and troubled by this won 
derful ministry, she fell upon her knees and mingled her tears 
with those of the child she had saved. After having blessed 
God for the favour, she said to him, " Return now to thy 
parents, and tell not what has happened to thee ; above all 
things, speak not of me to any one. Say that God s mercy 
assisted thee. Guard thyself by night and by day from mor 
tal sin, otherwise thou mayest relapse into thy former state. 
Remember what thou hast suffered ere this, and pray for me 
as I will ever pray for thee." Then she went away to escape 
the praise of this miracle, but the mother of the boy came up 
at the moment, and seeing her child standing and speaking, 
she was amazed and cried out, " Who has given thee speech ?" 
the boy replied, "A beautiful lady in a gray robe commanded 
me to speak to her in the name of Jesus Christ, and words 
were granted to me to reply." Whereupon the mother ran in 
the direction that Elizabeth had taken, and seeing her passing 
on quickly she recognised her, and everywhere published this 
miracle. 

Thus, notwithstanding: the modesty of Elizabeth, the report 
of the power wherewith God had endowed her was propagated 
to a great distance, and crowds of the unfortunate and puffer- 
ing came to invoke her assistance. Hei compassion er 



LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH. 

prevented her from refusing to Accede to their requests, nt 
never did the magnitude of the wonders which the Almighty 
permitted her to work, induce her for a moment to go astray 
from the profound and fervent humility which rendered her 
so agreeable to Him. One day a sick man asked her to heal 
him in the uame ot the beloved Apostle St. John, for whom 
she felt a special devotion ; after she prayed for him he felt 
^ured, arid he threw himself before her to thank her ; but she, 
*neehug down, blessed God, for that He had deigned to grant 
her request through the intercession of His dear Apostle St. 
Join, though, says the writer from whom we take this narra- 
ivo, " Uod listened to her prayers as well as He did to those 
/ St. John" 

Another day, a poor creature whose hands and feet were 
paralysed, cried out, " Oh woman, bright as the sun amongst 
thj sex, I come from Reynhartsbrunn where thy husband 
reposes by thy love for his soul come and heal me." On 
hearing the name of her husband she remembered their holy 
and happy life ; she stopped and looked with infinite tender 
ness upon him who invoked her thus, and by that gentle 
glance alone the paralytic was cured, and for this she 
fervently thanked the Lord. Sometime after, as she wa 
walking to the Convent of Aldenburg, a poor man called 
after her, saying, " Behold for twelve years I have been the 
prey of a wicked spirit let me but touch the hem of thy 
garment, and he must leave me." She returned immediately, 
and kneeling by the wayside she embraced and blessed him in 
the name of Jesus Christ, and at that moment the possessed 
one was delivered from his tormentor. 

On another occasion, having gone to the church which she 
had erected near her hospital, about noon which was the 
hour she preferred, as the people were generally at dinner, and 
*he could then indulge her devotion uninterruptedly she saw 
blind man waikmer alone around the church ; his eyelidi 



OF HUNGARY. 

open, but the eyeballs were withered and the sight 
had departed from them. She went and asked him why hi 
was thus wandering alone about the church. He replied, "I 
would wish to go to the dear lady who comforts the poor, i 
the Lope that she would give me some assistance for GodY 
sake ; but first I came to say a prayer iu this church, and I 
am now going round it to feel how long and how wide it is, 
as my eyes cannot see it." "And wouldst thou like to behold 
the church ?" asked the compassionate Elizabeth. " If it was 
God s will," replied the blind man, " I would indeed be glad 
to look upon it, but as I was born blind I have never seen 
the sunlight, so I have been God s prisoner." Then he began 
to tell her of all his misery " I would have been glad to 
labour like other men," said he, " kut I am useless to myself 
and to every one else ; the hours, so short to others, appear 
to me to be long and weary ; when I am amongst men I can 
hardly avoid the sin of envy ; when I am alone I deplore my 
misfortune, for I cannot pray always, and even when praying 
I think upon it incessantly." "It is all for thy good that 
God has sent thee this misfortune," said Elizabeth, " if thou 
hadst sight thou mightest have fallen into excesses and com 
mitted many more sins than thou hast done." " No, no," 
replied the blind man, " I would have worked hard and been 
free from the sad thoughts that possess me to-day." Elizabeth, 
quite mo red with compassion, then said to him, " Pray that 
God may give thee light and I will pray with thee." Then 
was the man aware that it was the holy Duchess Elizabeth 
who spoke to him, and prostrating himself before her, he 
cried out, " Oh noble and merciful lady, have pity on me P 
But she enjoined him again to pray to God with entire confi 
dence, and kneeling at some distance she also prayed fervently. 
Immediately sight was given to the poor man, and eyes of 
heavenly beauty were formed in the hitherto vacant orbits, 
He arose, looked about him, and went towards Elizabeth, 



824 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

" Madam," said he to her, " may God be for ever blessed; 1 
see well and clearly your words are verified." 

But the pious princess, who always united the prudent 
care of a Christian mother to her charity, said to him, " Now 
that sight is given to thee, remember that thou art to serve 
God and to avoid sin labour, and be an honest man, humble 
and loyal in all things." 

The prayers of this servant of the Lord, so powerful in 
assuaging the sufferings of the body, were not the le&s effi 
cacious in promoting the salvation of souls 

Madam Gertrude de Leinbach, the wife of a noble knight 
in the neighbourhood, came one day to visit the Duchess, 
and brought with her her son, named Berthold, a youth of 
about twelve or fourteen years old, who was magnificently 
clad, and who appeared to take great pride and pleasure in 
the elegance of his attire. Elizabeth, after conversing a 
long time with his mother, turned and said to him, " My 
dear child, thou art, in my mind, too richly clad ; thou art 
too anxious to serve the world, and from this thou wilt not 
derive any benefit, either to thy soul or body. Why wilt 
thou not think rather of serving thy Creator ? Tell me, dear 
one, dost thou think that thy Saviour and mine wore sucL 
clothes when he came in all humility to shed his blood for us ?" 
The boy replied " Oh ! dear lady, I bog of thee to ask the 
Lord to give me grace to serve him." " Dost thou wish 
truly, that I should pray for thee ?" asked the Duchess 
" Yes I do, indeed," said Burt.hoH. "Then dispose thysell 
to receive the ^raoe thou seekest," said Elizabeth " I will 
cheerfully pray for thee ; let us go together to the Chorcn, 
and both unite in supplication." He followed her, and, 
when arrived, he prostrated himself before the Altar, a* did 
also his mother, at some distance from the place in /hich 
Elizabeth knelt. After their prayers had lasted a t TtaiD 
time, the you:h cried out "Oh, dear lady, cease, ) praj 



or HUNGARY, 32ft 

thee \ n Still Elizabeth heeded not, but continued most fer- 
rently. Again Berthold cried out more loudly, " Cease, 
madam, 1 can endure it 110 longer ; my body is all inflamed." 
And indeed he seemed all burning a vapour exhaled from 
his body ; his mother and two of the attendants ran towards 
li m, and found his garments saturated with perspiration, and 
his skin so hot that they could scarcely touch him Eliza 
beth was still praying, until the boy cried out in desperation, 
" In the name of the Lord, I conjure thee to pray no more ; 
for 1 am consumed by an interior fire, and my heart is ready 
to break." Then she discontinued, and Berthold gradually 
regained his former state with this difference, however, 
that his heart never lost the flame of Divine Love which the 
prayers of Elizabeth had caused to be enkindled in it, and, 
soon after, he entered the Order of Saint Francis. 

Such examples soon brought to Elizabeth a crowd of suf 
fering souls, seeking her powerful intercession. She acceded 
vith pious humility to their requests, and many of them, 
enlightened and tranquillized by her prayers, like the young 
Berthold, embraced the religious life. This sweet and bene 
volent influence exteiided even beyond this world. This 
efficacious assistance was sought by some departed souls, 
who had not yet expiated all their faults. 

One night, she saw, in a dream, her mother, Queen Ger 
trude, who had been cruelly assassinated many years before; 
she appeared to kneel, and to say, "My dear child, be 
loved of God, wilt thou pray for me, for I have still to 
expiate some of the transgressions I committed during life 
Be mindful of the pains I endured when I brought thee into 
the world, and have pity on my present sufferings. Beg of 
God to shorten the time of my punishment, and to look 
rather upon the ignominious death which I suffered, though 
innocent, than upon my sins. This thou canst do if thou 
wilt, for thou art full of grace in his eyes." Elizabeth awokt 



826 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

weeping. She arose from her bed, and knelt down. After 
praying for some time for the repose of her mother s soul, 
she again lay down and slept. Her mother appeared a second 
time, and said to her, " Blessed be the day and the hour 
that I brought thee forth ! Thy prayer has delivered me ; 
fco-morrow I shall enter into eternal glory. But ever pray 
br all thou lovest, for God will comfort those who invoke 
foee in their afflictions." Elizabeth awoke again, and shed 
ars of heart-felt joy. Again she slumbered, through fa 
tigue, and did not hear the bell toll for Matins at the Church 
*f the Friar Minors, whither she was accustomed to go. She 
Vid not awake until the hour of Prime, when she arose, went 
*> confess her slothfulness, and requested her director to in 
dict on her a penance for this fault. 

This voice, so efficacious in obtaining the mercy of heaven, 
vas often equally so in seeking for justice on earth. 

In one of her walks, Elizabeth, who was so justly termed 
,he nursing-mother of the poor, discovered a woman in the 
pains of child-birth. She had her immediately conveyed to 
the hospital, and attended with all possible care. She wished 
to stand sponsor for the infant, on which she bestowed her 
own sweet name, Elizabeth. Every day she went to visit the 
mother, gave her her blessing, and brought whatever would 
be necessary for her comfort. After having kept her for a 
month, until she was entirely recovered, the Duchess gave her 
a cloak, and the shoes off her own feet, together with provi 
sions and twelve pieces of money; she also wrapped the infant 
in a furred mantle, which she took off one of her attendants. 
But the unnatural mother, far from being affected by such 
generosity, only speculated on its prolongation. After having 
taken leave of the Duchess in the evening, she stifled all the 
Instincts of maternal love, and went away at a very early 
iour, thus at>andoning her child. Meanwhile, Elizabeth, 
whose thoughts were with the poor by day and by night, said 



07 nuNOARr. S27 

i 

to Mie of her maidens, just as they were entering the church 
for matins, " I have some money in my purse ; go thou with 
it to that poor woman ; it may be of some use to her and her 
babe." But the girl returned, announcing that the woman 
was gone, and had left her infant. " Run and bring the little 
one to me," said the good Elizabeth, " that it may not be 
neglected." Full though her heart was of mercy, yet well 
did she know what were the rights of justice ; so she sent for 
the judge of the city, and ordered him to send out soldiers to 
the different roads leading from the town, to seek out the 
guilty mother. They returned without success ; then Eliza 
beth went to pray, and one of her maidens, who dreaded the 
wrath of Conrad when he should Lave heard the story, told 
her mistress to pray that the ungrateful woman should be 
d ; wovered. Elizabeth replied thus to this suggestion : " I 
snow not how to ask any thing of God, but that His will be 
done m all things." In a little time they perceived the hus 
band and wife, who came and threw themselves at the feet of 
the Duchess, supplicating for pardon of their fault ; at the 
same time, they declared that they had found their flight 
impeded by an invisible force, which absolutely prevented 
their going forward, but which impelled them to return to 
the city. No one doubted but that this was the effect of 
the prayers of the Duchess. The attendants took from the 
ungrateful woman all that had been previously given to her, 
and distributed it amongst poor people who were more deserv 
ing. But Elizabeth, in whose heart compassion quickly 
regained the empire, gave her another pair of shoes and a 
cloak to cover her. 

Notwithstanding so many proofs of her power with God, 
hsr extreme humility sometimes assumed the appearance of a 
kind of diffidence in God s mercy. 

She occasionally experienced moments of discouragement 
and ipterior darkness, such as are sometimes felt by souls thi 



828 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

most advanced in the ways loading to heaven, when they bead 
under the burthen of this mortal life ; and then her heart, 
always inflamed with love, would doubt if she could find in 
God a love proportionate to that she had centred upor 
Him 

Her former confessor, Father Rodinger of Wurtzburg, 
came to visit her, and, accompanied by three of her maidens, 
she went to walk with him on the banks of the Lahn ; in her 
conversation with this old friend, of whom she was undoubt 
edly less afraid than of Conrad, she said to him " Reverend 
Father, there is one thing that torments me more than any 
other ; and that is, that I fear my Creator has but little 
aitection for me. Not but that He is infinitely good and 
always prodigal of his love, but on account of my many 
faults, that keep me far away, whilst my heart is inflamed 
with love for Him." " There is nothing to fear in that," said 
the good Friar " for the Divine mercy is so great, that it is 
impossible to think but that God loves infinitely more those 
who love Him, than He is beloved by them." " How, then, 
is it," said Elizabeth, " that He permits sadness or languor 
of soul to remove me from Him, to whom I would wish every 
where and always to be united ?" The Religious remarked 
that these were the marks of an elect soul, and not of an 
abandoned one, and the sure means of acquiring an increase 
of Divine love ; then he pointed her attention to a tree 
growing on the opposite bank of the river, and said that 
God would more surely permit that tree to come by itself 
across the river, than that she should for a moment think 
that His love did not infinitely surpass that ot any of Hii 
creatures for him. 

No sooner had he spoken these words, than the wonder- 
stricken group saw the tree crossing the river and implanting 
itself on the shore where they were walking. At this miracu 
lous testimony of Divine love, Elizabeth recognised the power 



OF HUNOA 329 

tnd eternal truth of Him who said to his disciples, " If yon 
had faith like to a grain of mustard-sred, yon might say to 
this mulberry tree, Be t -on route. 1 up, and he thou trans 
planted into the sea : ami it wou!<l obey you." Saint Luke, 
xvii. 6 And she knelt at the f.-et ol Father Rodinger, to 
confess the sin of distrust in God s mercy, and to obtain his 
pardon 

To give to her prayers the wonderful power which we have 
seen in their effects, Elizabeth had no other means than the 
perpetual exercise of this great faculty; and notwithstanding 
the number and fatiguing nature of the works of mercy in 
which she was continually engaged, and which, one would 
think, were sufficient to occupy all her time, yet she devotee 
many hours daily to prayer and meditation. With a rare 
happiness, she united in her person the active and contem 
plative lives 

After having, like Martha, provided with the greatest 
care for the wants of Jesus Christ, in the persons of his poor, 
she used to go, like Mary, to the feet of her Saviour, and 
there forget this world in the recollection of his graces and 
mercies. " Before God, I declare that I nave rarely seen a 
more contemplative woman," wrote her severe confessor to 
the Pope. She often remained for hours at prayer, with her 
heart, her eyes, her hands, lifted to heaven. It was also her 
custom to spend many hours of the night in the church, not 
withstanding the prohibitions of Conrad, who did not wish 
that she should deprive herself of necessary repose. As she 
sometimes did not feel sufficiently alone or unobserved in the 
churches of Marburg, she loved to pray in the fields, under 
heaven s canopy, surrounded by that nature which in all ita 
beauties reminded her of the greatness and clemency of the 
Creator Tradition informs us, that, when praying thus in 
the open air, when it rained, she alone was not wet. Her 
favourite refuge was near a clear fountain, in a wood, at thf 



S30 



LIFJ! OF ST. ELIZABETH, 



foot of a rugged hill, at a little distance from Scliroeck, we 
leagues from Marburg. The read to it was steep and 
dangerous; she had a paved pathway made there, and erected 
near the spring a little chapel. Soon this solitary spot re 
ceived the name of Elizabeth s Fountain, which it preserves 
to this day. The worst weather could not hinder her from 
visiting this beloved retreat. She always prayed whilst 
walking ; bu* coming hither from Marburg, she used tc 
recite bat ot3 Pater, so mingled was her prayer with re 
flection and contemplation Elizabeth always assisted with 
exemplary devotion and exactitude at all the Divine Offices 
She entertained for the Saints of God an affectionate rever 
ence ; she listened to the histories of their lives with the 
deepest interest ; she scrupulously observed their festivals, 
and regarded their precious relics with great veneration, and 
continually lighted tapers and burned incense before their 
shrines. After her special friend, St. John the Evangelist, 
it was for St. Mzry Magdalene that she professed the greatest 
devotion. The Holy Virgin was naturally the object of her 
fervent love ; she always carried about her four images of 
tf-is Queen of Heaven, which she preserved until her death, 
and which she then bequeathed to her eldest daughter, 
Sophia. Yet she was far from attaching undue importance 
to these exterior signs of devotion, and she knew perfectly 
how to distinguish between their mere material value and the 
pure one which faith assigns them. Thus, she was one day 
visiting a monastery, and about twenty-four of the monks 
assembled to show her, with a certain degree of complaisance, 
some richly-gilt carvings that adorned their church. She said 
to them " Indeed it would have been better to keep the 
money that these cost you for your food and clothing, for the 
subjects here represented should be engraven on your hearts." 
She was not less severe to herself, for as a person was speak 
ing to her of the beauty of a picture, *.nd striving to induct 



OF P NO ART. 331 

ter to purchase it, she said, " I do not want that picture, for 
I feel the subject of it in my soul." 

The same feeling predominated in the mind of one of her 
most illustrious contemporaries, though of a very different 
stamp of character from herself, Simon, Count de Mont> 
fort, of whonv St. Louis related with admiration the follow 
ing anecdote to Joiuville : tnat when a person came to tell 
him, " that he had just seen the body of our Saviour, that 
the host had become flesh and blood in the hands of a 
priest, and at which those present were much astonished," 
the Count said to him " Go to, you who doubt ; as for me, 
I believe it implicitly, and I hope for thus believing to re 
ceive a brighter crown in Paradise, than that the angels 
wear, because they, seeing God s wonders face to face, must 
believe them." 

God s image was surely too deeply engraven in Elizabeth s 
heart, too frequently present to her love, for her to require 
the assistance which the Church offers with generous compas 
sion to common souls. Ravished in incessant contemplation, 
even into the very presence of the Divinity and His most 
august mysteries, she needed not the imperfect figures that 
the human imagination could form of them. According a? 
she approached the end of her career, her prayers became 
more frequently transformed into ecstasies ; and these won 
derful interruptions of her ordinary life increased, as if to 
prepare her gently for the passage to eternity. In a little 
time no day passed that she quitted not this world of grief 
and weariness, to enjoy a foretaste of the bliss of heaven. 
The number of revelations, of visions, and of supernatural 
communications, was very great ; and though she endea 
voured to conceal these wonderful r avours, they could not 
pass unnoticed by those who lived with her ; her joy and 
gratitude often betrayed her, and the occurrence of these 
visions was looked upon by her contemporaries as incontest- 



882 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

We facts. The angels were the usual messengers from he 
ven to this predestined soul ; not only did they convey to her 
warnings and celestial instructions, but they also came to 
console her in the trials and accidents of this passing life. 

To relate one instance, from amongst many others, Eliza 
beth brought to her house a poor woman who was sick ; on 
her the tenderest care was lavished ; she recovered and took 
to flight one morning at a very early hour, carrying away 
with her all the clothes belonging to her benefactress who 
now, not having wherewith to cover herself, was obliged to 
remain in bed ; but far from becoming impatient or discon 
tented, she said, " My dear Lord, I thank you for having 
thus permitted me to resemble you. Naked you came into 
the world, and naked did you die, nailed to the cross" and 
immediately, as when she had formerly given all her raiment 
to the poor, she saw an an^el coming with a fair garment, 
which he ^ave to her, saying, I do not now bring thee a 
crown as I did in other times, for God himself will soon bestow 
on thee the crown of glory." 

But often, also, the Divine Spouse of her soul, the Master 
of hex life, Jesus himself, appeared to her, accompanied bv a 
multitude of saints. He consoled her by his gentle words, 
and fortified her by his presence. After these celestial 
visions, her face, according to the grave Conrad, beamed 
with a marvellous brightness a reflection of the Divine 
splendour which had shone upon her, and from her beautiful 
eyes proceeded rays like those of the sun. Those only who 
were free from the stain of mortal sin, could look at her 
without being dazzled. If she continued long in the state of 
ecstasy, she acquired such strength that she had not any need 
of even the most trifling nourishment for a long space of 
tune. This spiritual food sufficed for the sustenance oi her 
body. For the remainder of the day, she lived only in Him, 
|n whose love she was all absorbed ; the only words she could 



OF HUNGARY. 3SS 

use to express her feelings on these occasions, were the fol 
lowing, from the Sacred Text, " My soul fainted away when 
my beloved spoke unto me." 

Thus was realized the prophetic instinct which had im 
pelled her in her childhood to choose for patron, friend and 
model the blessed Evangelist who had received the Privilege 
of Love, and who, when reposing on the bosom of his 
Saviour, had read there all the secrets of heaven. A divine 
radiance was then shed over her life, which illumined her 
whole being. No trial, no tribulation, could disturb her 
gentle sweetness ; never was she troubled or irritated ; on 
the contrary, she appeared even gayer in her sorrows. 

Those who were most intimate with her never saw upon 
her countenance an expression of discontent ; yet she wept 
incessantly, and the holy gift of tears which she had received 
in her early days became more plenteous according as she 
approached the tomb. The happier was she, the more she 
wept ; but her tears flowed as from a tranquil and hidden 
source, without leaving a trace on her features ; and far 
from in the least degree disturbing the pure beauty and pla 
cidity of her countenance, they added to it a new charm ; 
they were the expressions of a heart for whose feelings 
voids were all too weak. 

And surely, as we before read of the tears that human 
ove and cruel persecution had forced from her, these tears 
of supernatural joy that now flowed into the chalice of her 
life, were received, drop by drop, by her celestial Spouse, 
and became the pearls of that crown which was placed on 
her fair brow, at her entrance to the eternal glory of neavcn 1 



S34 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

HOW THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH, WEEN AGED TWENTY-FOUR TKAM, 
WAS SUMMONED TO THE ETERNAL WEDDING FEAST. 

a Jam hlems transiit, Imber abiit et recessit: surgea mica mea, speclosa inea, ei 
rent . . . Veni sponsa mea, et coronaberis." Cant. 1L 11, 14 

Two years had scarcely passed away, since the humble 
Elizabeth had been clothed in the Habit of the Order of St. 
Francis, and with it had received strength to despise all the 
joys of this world, and to seek heaven by a path strewn 
with thorns ; and already the Lord had deemed the trial 
sufficiently long the laborious task she had imposed on her 
self sufficiently well fulfilled. " He ordained that she who 
had given up the kingdom of this world should be received 
into the realm of the angels." Like the spouse in the in 
spired canticles, He came to announce to his beloved one 
that the dark winter of her life, with all its storms, had 
passed away, and that the dawning of an eternal spring was 
about to open for her. The year 1231 was nigh expired, 
the year wherein the Order of St. Francis had resigned to 
heaven the great St. Anthony of Padua, the glory of Italy 
and Portugal ; and the Almighty, willing to increase the 
number of the Saints, demanded from the same order a new 
sacrifice, and proceeded to cull its fairest flower. 

One night when Elizabeth was praying, though in a state 
between sleeping and waking, Christ appeared to her, sur 
rounded by a beauteous light, and said in a sweet voice, 
" Come, Elizabeth, my spouse, my beloved one, come to the 
tabernacle I have prepared for thee from eternity ; come, 
I myself will conduct :hee thither." On awaking, she wai 



OF HUNGARY. S35 

overjoyed, and began to make all the preparations for thii 
happy passage. She arranged all matters for her burial. 
She went for the last time to visit her patients, and gave to 
them ani to her followers all that it was in her power to 
bestow. Master Conrad was at this time stricken with a 
grievous malady, which caused him acute pain. He sent for 
his gentle penitent, and she went immediately, faithful to the 
last to her mission, as the consolatrix and friend of the poor 
and sick. He received her with affection, and she grieved to 
see him suffering so much Then said he to her : " What 
will become of you, my lady and dear child, when I am dead ? 
How will you regulate your life ? Who will be your protector 
against the wicked, and who will lead you to God ?" She 
replied immediately, " Your question is a vain one, for I will 
die before you ; believe me, I shall not have need of another 
protector." 

On the fouith day after this conversation she was attacked 
by the illness which was to terminate the long death of her 
terrestrial existence, and to conduct her to the only true and 
eternal life 

She was obliged to remain in bed, where for twelve or four 
teen days, she lay the victim of a scorching fever, still always 
joyous and gay, and continually occupied in prayer. Towards 
the end of this time, one day, as she seemed to slumber, witfc 
her face turned towirds the wall, one of her women, named 
like herself, Elizabeth, heard a sweet and exquisite melody, 
proceeding, as it wet 3, from the throat of the Duchess. In a 
moment after she changed her position, and turning towards 
her attendant, she .aid : " Where art thou, my beloved ?" 
" Behold me," said the servant, adding, " dear lady, how 
charmingly you hav ) sung 1" " What," said Elizabeth, " has* 
thou too heard somothing ?" and on receiving her response in 
the affirmative, the invalid resumed, " I will tell thee how a 
little bird stood between me and the wall, and he sung to me 



S36 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

for a long time so sweetly that my heart and soul were glad 
deiied, and I was impelled to sing also. He revealed to me 
that I should die in three days." 

" Doubtless," says an ancient narrator, " it was her guar 
iiaii angel, who came under the form of a little bird to an 
uounce the approach of eternal joy." 

From this mormnt, having so little time to prepare for 
the last great conflict, she did not wish to see any secular 
persons, not even the noble ladies who were accustomed to 
visit her. She bade all who inquired after her farewell, and 
blessed them for the last time. She received only, besides 
ht>r domestics, some religious women who were especially 
attached to her, her confessor, and the poor child who suc 
ceeded in her care the leper whom Conrad had sent away 
When they asked her why she excluded every one, she saia, 
" I wish to remain alone with God, and to meditate on the 
dreadful day of the last judgment, and on my Almighty 
Judge." Then she began to weep and to invoke the mercy 
of God. 

On Sunday, the vigil of the octave of St. Martin s day, 
after Matins, she confessed to Conrad who was sufficiently 
recovered to attend her. " She took her heart into her hands, 
and read therein all that it contained," says a contemporary 
manuscript, " but nought was there for accusation, nothing 
that had not been a thousand times washed away by the most 
sincere coLtrition." Her confession concluded, Conrad asked 
what was her last will with regard to her wealth and posses 
sions. " I am astonished," said she, " that you should pot 
such a question to me ; for you know that when I made a vow 
of obedience to you, I renounced all my property, as well as 
my will, my beloved children, and all earthly pleasures. I 
retained no more than was sufficient to pay debts and to give 
alms. If you had granted permission, I would have been glad 
to give up all, and to live in a cell, subsisting on the daily 



OF HUNQ1RT 537 

pittance ihat other poor oi>es would have bestowed upon me. 
For a long time, all of which I was apparently mistress, be 
longed in reality to the poor. Distribute amongst them what 
ever I leave, except this old robe I now wear, and in which 
I wish to be buried. I make no will, I have no heir but 
Jeeus Christ." But as one of her companions requested hei 
to leave her some memorial, she gave her the old mantle of 
her holy Father St. Francis which the Pope had sent her. 
" I leave thee my mantle," said she, " heed not that it is 
patched, torn and miserable for it was the most precious 
treasure I ever possessed. I declare to thee, that whenever 
I asked any special favour from my beloved Jesus, and that 
( prayed covered with this cloak, He granted my wishes, al 
ways with infinite mercy." 

She then requested that she should be buried in the Church 
Df the hospital she had founded and dedicated in honour of 
St. Francis. She had no further care for the burial of her 
jody, so absorbed was she in the anticipation of her soul s 
entrance into Heaven. After she had conversed a loner ti-ne 
with Master Conrad, and when Mass was said, towards the 
hour of Prime they administered to her the last sacraments, 
which she expected with a pious eagerness. Who could know 
and judge with what tenderness, what purity of heart, what 
ardent desire, what celestial joy she received this sweet repast ! 
Certai ily He alone who became her guide and viaticum ID 
this last journey But what was manifested in her exterior 
served t:> show the attendants the presence of the divine grace 
by whict she was replenished. 

After having communicated and received extreme unction 
she remai ied motionless and silent during the entire day, 
absorbed iu contemplation, enraptured with that Banquet of 
(ife of whicV she had partaken for the last time in this world. 
Towards the Vesoer hour her lips were unsealed to give ut 
terance to a torrent of pious and fervent aspiration* j her 
15 



3S8 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

tongue, usually so slow to speak, proclaimed her feelings so 
fervently, and with such prudence and efficacy, that though 
she had never spoken so much before, not a single word was 
lost. 

Those present remarked that ail she had ever heard from 
preachers, or read in devout books, or learned in her ecsta 
sies, came to her mind to be imparted to her maidens before 
her death. A wonderful fountain of eloquence and learning 
seemed to spring up in her soul at the very moment in which 
it was about to fly from this world. In remembering the 
Holy Scriptures, she selected the passages most affecting to 
the memory of a loving soul like hers. She recited the whole 
passage of the Gospel relating to the raising of Lazarus from 
the dead, and spoke with wonderful pathos of the visit that 
Jesus made to the blessed sisters Martha and Mary, when He 
deigned to sympathise in their grief when He went with 
them to their brother s tomb, and showed his tender and sin 
cere compassion, in mingling with their sorrow, tears from 
His divine eyes. Fixing on this idea she spoke most ferventl) 
and to the great admiration of the attendants, of those teari 
of Christ, as well as of those shed by Him in contemplating 
Jerusalem, and while He hung upon the Cross ; her wordt 
*vere so earnest, so tender, so fitted to penetrate the heart, 
that tears soon abundantly flowed from the of all who 
heard her. The expiring saint perceived their sorrow, ana as 
if to give them a last warning she repeated the words that our 
Lord spoke when going to death, " Daughters of Jerusalem, 
weep not over me, but weep over yourselves " Her heart, 
always so full of compassion and sympathy, though winging 
its flight to Heaven, was still accessible to her beloved ones. 
She again sought to alleviate the anguish of her attendants, 
by addressing to them the most affectionate consolation, and 
calling them thus : " My friends, my beloved ones* And 
then she bowed her head and for a long time kept a complete 



OF HUNGARY. 399 

silence. In a little time after, though the bystanders saw no 
motion of her lips, they again heard a faint, sweet music. 
When they questioned her on this subject she replied, " Have 
you not heard them who chaunted with me? I sung as well 
as I could with them." " No faithful soul will doubt," says 
her historian, " but that she already united her sweet voice 
fco the songs of triumph, and the delicious harmony of the 
celestial choirs who expected the moment of her entrance into 
their ranks ; already she magnified the praises of the Lord 
with His angels." 

She remained from the closing of the day until the first 
crowing of the cock in a state of boundless joy, of pious ex 
ultation and fervent devotion. At the moment of victory 
with good reason she celebrated the termination of her many 
trials. Already sure of her glorious crown, she said to her 
attendants a few minutes before midnight : " What shall we 
do if our enemy, the devil, should appear ?" In an instant 
after she cried out in a loud ciear voice, " Fly, fly, thou 
wicked one, I renounce thee I" Then again she said : " He 
goes, let us now speak of God and of His Son, it will not fa 
tigue you it will not continue long." Towards midnight 
her face became so radiant that they could scarcely look upon 
her. At the sound of the cockcrow, she said : " At this hour 
did the Virgin Mary bring to the world its Saviour. Let us 
peak of God and of the infant Jesus, for it is now midnight, 
the hour in which Jesus was born, and laid in a manger, and 
that He created a new star, which had never been seen before ; 
at this hour He came to redeem the world ; He will redeem 
me also ; at this hour He arose from the dead, and delivered 
the imprisoned souls ; He will also deliver mine from this 
miserable world." 

Her joy and happiness increased every moment. " I am 
weak," said she, "but I feel no more pain than if I was not 
ill I recommend you all to God." She spoke again, inspired 



440 LIVE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

by tlie Holy Spirit, but her words, which breathed the purest 
love of God, have not been particularly recorded. At length 
she said, " Oh Mary, come to my assistance ! the moment haa 
arrived when God summons his friend to the wedding feast. 
The bridegroom seeks His spouse." Then in a low toiu she 
added, " Silence 1 .... Silence 1 ..." In pronouncing these 
words she bowed her head as if falling into a gentle slumber, 
and in bliss breathed her last sigh. Her soul ascended to 
Heaven surrounded by angels and saints who had come to 
meet her. A delicious perfume filled the humble cottage 
which now contained but her mortal remains, and those pre 
sent heard a chorus of heavenly voices singing with ineffable 
harmony the sublime anthem of the Church, " Reynum mundi^ 
et omnem ornatum sceculi contempsi propter amorem Domini 
met Jesu Chris ti /" 

This was during the night of the 19th of November, A. D. 
1231 ; the Saint had not entirely completed her twenty-fourth 
year. 

A manuscript entitled, " Antiquitates monasterii Aldenber- 
gensis," relates that the little Gertrude, aged four years, who 
was then at Aldenberg, said at that time to her companions, 
M I hear the passing bell at Marburg ; at this moment the dear 
lady, my mother, is dead !" 

One of the good religious who wrote the life of the dear 
Saint, exclaims, "Do you blame me, dear reader, for havijg 
written that Elizabeth is dead ? Do you accuse me for not 
having alleged other tiuse< for her death than love and joy ? 
Yes, love and joy led her from this vale of tears : she left it 
not with pain. Death, which is so hard and so terrible a 
struggle, had no share in this departure, in which a "ftuous 
and holy life was succeeded by a triumphant an<* blessed 
eternity : it was rather a privilege of grace than a Banishment 
of sin ; au achievement of victory, not a failing of human 
tature." 



OF HUNGARY 841 



CHAPTER XXX. 

HOW THE DEAR SAINT ELIZABETH WAS BURIED IN THE 3HORCH NEA1 
HER HOSPITAL, iND HOW EVEN THE LITTLE BIRDS OP HEAVES 
CELEBRATED HEfc OBSEQUIES. 

**Eooe quod concuplvi, jam video; quod speravl, jam teneo; 1 pat sum Janet* IB 
Mlis quern in terris posita, tote devotlone dileii." Anthem of St. A gne* Roman 
Breviary. 

DIFFERENT from all human glory, that of the saints com 
mences on earth, as it does in heaven, but with their death ; 
it appears that as if, in his parental solicitude, the Lord wills 
always to leave their humility under the protection of the 
forgetfulness, or even of the insults of the world, until nothing 
but their mortal part remains to be exposed to its dangerous 
praises. 

Thus, scarcely had the soul of our Elizabeth sought the 
rich repose of heaven, when her body became the object of 
a veneration which had too frequently been refused to her 
during life ; and we find that this poor widow, who for a 
long time had been persecuted, despised, and calumniated, 
occupied the thoughts and filled the hearts of all faithful Ca- 
fcholics, from the Supreme Head of the Church to the hum 
blest pilgrim of pious Germany. 

When she had breathed her last sigh, her faithful maidens 
and some other devout wo-m-n washed her body, with the 
greatest respect for hor who in her last moments so nobly 
fulfilled the promises of the glorious victories she had gained 
over all human frailties during her short life. 

They gave her for a shroud the torn garments which had 
been her only Nothing, and which she herself had desired 



342 LIFE OF 8T. ELIZABETH, 

should form her grave-clothes. Her sawed body was thea 
taken by Franciscan Religious, accompanied by the secular 
clergy and the people, while chaunting holy hymns, (though 
many were weeping,) to the chapel of the hospital of St. 
Francis, which was destined to be the first theatre of her 
glory, as it had been the place where many of her heroic 
sacrifices for the love of God and of the poor had been made. 
In this chapel she most frequently prayed, and performed 
many acts of devotion. The report of her death was soon 
noised abroad, and all the priests and monks of the country, 
particularly the Cistercians, as well as an immense crowd of 
people, both rich and poor, came to render the last honours 
to her who was so early summoned to receive the reward of 
her labours Animated by that popular instinct which is so 
frequently the forerunner of true renown, and anticipating 
the honour which the Church was so soon to decree to her 
precious remains, the most ardent sought to procure relics cf 
the Saint. They threw themselves on her bier ; some tore 
away pieces of her robe ; others cut her nails and her hair ; 
some women went even so far as to cut away the tips of her 
ears and of her breast. The grief occasioned by her loss 
was general ; tears flowed from every eye ; on all sides were 
heard the groans and lamentations of the pool and sick, who 
were thus deprived of her tender care, and who came in 
crowds to take a last look of their benefactress ; all wept 
together it seemed as if each one had lost a mother. But 
how could W3 describe the anguish of those who had lost in 
her a support and an example ? Amongst others, the Fran 
ciscans, whose sister she was by rule and by habit, and to 
whom she had ever been a mother, by the powerful protec 
tion she had afforded them, deplored her loss with deep 
affliction. The father who haa left us her biography says 
u When I think upon Elizabeth, I would far rather weep than 
write." 



OF HUNGARY. 

The love and devotion of the people exacted permission to 
have her cherished remains left for four days in the Church, 
in the midst of the pious multitude, who continually prayed 
there and sung canticles. Her countenance was uncovered, 
and offered to their contemplation the most enchanting sight 
Her youthful beauty had reappeared, with all its freshneai 
and brilliancy ; the bloom of her early life again visited her 
cheeks. Her flesh, far from being rendered stark by death, 
was as flexible to the touch as if she was still alive. " Before 
her death," says one of her historians, "her countenance 
was like that of one who had passed her life in bitter suffer 
ings. But scarcely had she expired, when her face became 
so smooth, so majestic, and so beautiful, that this sudden 
change could only excite admiration ; and one might say that 
Death, the ruthless destroyer of all things fair, visited her 
but to obliterate the traces, not of old age and time, but 
those of sorrow and austerity, as if that grace which hitherto 
replenished her soul would now in turn animate her body. 
It seemed as if, through the mists of death, some of the 
immortal loveliness beamed upon her, or that glory had in 
anticipation shed some o- Hs rays upon a body that was one 
day to be received into tne splendour of light inaccessible." 

This charming tradition, which says that the physical 
beauty was renewed and increased in the body of Elizabeth, 
after her soul was delivered from it, has been faithfully fol 
lowed by the unknown artist who sculptured tne principal 
events of her life upon the altars at Marburg, and who has 
represented her exposed on the bier, as far more lovely in 
her death-sleep, than in all the other subjects. 

It was not the sight alone that was rejoiced in this sad 
moment by the body of the youthful saint ; there exha?ed 
from it a delicious perfume, which was a type of the grace 
and virtue of which it had been the mortal covering. Pioui 
louls remembered the words of the wise man, when he said 



844 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

that " the memory of the just is like the odour of an aromatic 
balm." 

" This wonderful fragrance," says the writer whom we 
previously quoted, "served to console the poor and all the 
t^ople for the loss they had sustained ; this heavenly bain? 
gently soothed their weariness, and stayed the sad fk>v oi 
their tears and regrets, by the assurance they received from 
this miraculous sign, that, though the holy one was dead, 
she could still be, even more than during her lifetime, the 
charitable mother of the poor the certain refuge of the 
afflicted, and that the odoriferous incense of her prayers, 
ascending for ever to the throne of Divine Majesty, would 
obtain graces for all those who invoked her in their necessi 
ties." 

On the fourth day after her death, her obsequies were 
celebrated with the greatest solemnity. This pure and pre 
cious treasure, this rich and dazzling jewel, was hidden un 
der an humble stone in the chapel of her hospital, in pre 
sence of the Abbots and Religious of several neighbouring 
monasteries, and a crowd of people, whose grief was v oJent, 
but most expressive, and whom it required the best efforts 
of the clergy to keep in order. 

It was certainly a wonderful homage, that paid to the 
departed saint on this occasion ; but with the grief of these 
simple ones, many hearts beat with sentiments truly worthy 
of her, for all raised their voices to heaven in accents Nf fer 
vent devotion and pious gratitude, which they experienced, 
in having been permitted to see one, whose example was so 
glorious and so worthy of imitation 

But the Lord reserved for His friend a still sweeter and 
more affecting homage. 

On the night preceding the solemnization of the last rites, 
the Abbess of Wechere, who had come to assist at the fu 
neral ceremony, heard a harmony which astonished her ex 



OF HUNGARY. 345 

tremely she went outside, accompanied by several persons, 
to learn whence it proceeded and they saw on the roof of 
the church an immense number of birds, of a species un 
known to men before that time, and these sung in tones so 
sweet and varied, that all who listened were filled with ad 
miration. These little creatures seemed to celebrate this 
glorious burial-service. They were, according to the opinions 
of some, the angels who had borne Elizabeth s happy soul 
to heaven, and who had now returned to honour her body 
by their hymns of celestial gladness. 

"These little birds," says St. Bonaventure, "rendered 
testimony to her purity by speaking of her in their language 
at her burial, and sing-ing with such wondrous sweetness over 
her tomb. He who spoke by the mouth of an ass, to reprove 
the folly of a prophet, could as well proclaim by tLc voice of 
birds the innocence of a saint.* 



346 LIFE OF ST. ELIZiBETH, 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

W THE WONDERFUL MIRACLES OBTAINED FROM GOD BY THE DT 
CESSION OF THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH, AND HOW ANXIOUSLY HE! 
BROTHER-IN-LAW, DUKE CONRAD, WISHED TO HAVE HER CANON 
IZED. 

" la viU su fecit inonstra, et In morte mirabilia operatus eat" 

Eocl. xlvlii. 1*. 

THE Lord delayed not the manifestation of the miraculous 
j,ower with which He was pleased henceforth to invest her 
whose whole life had been but one long act of humility. To 
the invincible love which had preferred in this world, loneli 
ness and misery for His sake, He hastened to bestow, as a 
sure pledge of victory, the right of disposing of the treasures 
of heaven. 

On the second day after her funeral, a certain monk of 
the order of Citeaux came to kneel at her tomb and to request 
her assistance. For more than forty years, this unhappy one 
languished from an interior grief, a bitter heart-wound, that 
no human remedy could heal ; but after having invoked this 
zealous consolatrix of all sufferings, with a firm faith, he felt 
himself delivered from the yoke under which he had so long 
mourned ; and this he testified upon oath before Master Con 
rad and the Curate of Marburg. This was the first cure op 
erated by her intercession ; and it is interesting to remark how 
this tender and loving soul, who had endured so many heart 
felt sorrows during her life, should have chosen as the first ob 
ject of her merciful inttrposition in heaven, one of those painful 
aiterior trials which the science of man knows not how to heal, 
nor even to compassionate. 

Some little time after, there came to her tomb a prelate 



OP HUNGARY. 347 

of injt illustrious birth and high ecclesiastical dignity : history 
has not recorded his name, but has accused him of having 
beer addicted to all excesses of vice, which the sacred charac 
ter of his office rendered still more odious. Oftentimes a 
prey to ~emorse and shame, he had recourse to the tribunal 
of penance, but fruitlessly ; at the first temptation, he yielded 
again, and his relapses became more and more scandalous 
and deplorable. Still he struggled against his frailty, and, 
sin-btaiued as he was, he came to seek strength at the shrine 
ci the pare and holy Elizabeth. He prayed, and invoked 
her protection and intercession, whilst shedding a torrent of 
tears, and remained kneeling for many hours, absorbed in 
fervour and deep contrition. He ceased not his ardent sup 
plications, until in his soul he felt convinced that they had 
reached tne Mercy-seat, and that the Lord had listened to 
the petition that his well-beloved Elizabeth had presented in 
the name of this poor victim of sin ; he felt himself indued 
with a spiritual strength far greater than the impulses of 
vice ; and from that moment, as he declared when confessing 
to Master Conrad, the sting of the flesh was so vanquished 
in him, that thenceforward he had but to struggle against 
trivial temptations, which he was enabled to overcome quite 
easily. 

Many other souls, suffering and oppresvsed under the chaini 
of sin, learned to shake them off near the resting-place of 
this holy woman, who in her life-time had so nobly rent 
them asunder ; of these, the most frequently recorded are of 
men who learned to triumph over the passions of hatred, 
pride, avarice, and anger ; and surely, to escape from such 
sins, they could not follow a more faithful guide than her 
who had humbled herself to the lowest who had given her 
whole being to God, and all her wealth to His poor and 
who had passed htr life in the practice of universal lovg and 
forgivcnesa 1 



843 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

Not only did spiritual infirmities experience the effectf of 
her efficacious piety ; physical sufferings ana *o irinit es, such 
as she had so continually soothed during net f o. though 
losing in her the compassionate nurse, receivec ustead, a 
ihare of the new and wonderful power which renlert* her 
by God s mercy, their unfailing healer and most skilful phy 
sician. 

An interesting narrative informs us how quickly she exer 
cised this benevolent faculty, and how her glorified scir re 
tained the gentle familiarity with the humble and the p:or, 
which was the great charm of her mortal life. At the Mo 
nastery of Reynhartsbrunn, where Duke Louis reposed vrith 
his ancestors, there was a lay-brother, who filled the office 
of miller ; he was a man of fervent piety, who practised 
many austerities. Amongst others, he always wore an iron 
cuirass on his body, the better to mortify the flesh. The 
Duchess, in her frequent visits to the Abbey, had remarked 
this poor brother, and entertained for him, on account of his 
sanctity, a special affection. One day when she had come to 
pray at the tomb of her husband, she met the brother miller 
and spoke to him with great kindness ; she exacted from him 
a promise of joining with her in a mutual and spiritual com 
munity of prayers, in pledge of which she extended her hand 
and took his, notwithstanding the resistance of the humble 
monk, who, in his simplicity, blushed at touching the hand 
of so illustrious a lady. Some time after, as he was re 
pairing some of the implements of his occupation, one of the 
tails of the mill suddenly struck him, and shattered his 
arm. He suffered extreme torture from this accident, but 
he waited patiently until it should please the Lord to give 
him relief. During the night of the 19th Novembei, while 
the soul of his noble and holy sister was returning to God 
who made it, the brother miller was keeping vigil, praying io 
His abbey-church, and groaning with the pain of his broken 



OF HUNGARY. 349 

arm Suddenly he saw the Duchess Elizabeth appear before 
him, clad in royal robes, and resplendent with a wonderful 
light She said to him, with her accustomed gentleness 
" What dost thou, good Brother Volkraar, and how art 
tnou Though alarmed and dazzled by the clear brilliancy 
that shone around her, he recognised her and said " How is 
it, dear lady, that you who, ordinarily, were clothed in such 
miserable garments, have now such beautiful and gorgeous 
raiment ?" "It is because my condition is changed," she 
replied ; and then she raised his right hand that which she 
had formerly taken as a sign of friendship that which had 
been shattered by the mill, and healed it. 

This touching of the wounded member seemed so painful 
to him, that he awoke, as if from a dream, and found hii 
hand and arm entirely sound and well. He then thanked the 
Lord, and that dear sister who had thought of him on hei 
entrance into heaven. 

But still greater prodigies took place on the days imme 
diately after her obsequies ; unhappy creatures, suffering 
under painful maladies deaf, lame, blind, idiots, lepers, 
paralytics, some of whom had come, thinking her still alire, 
to implore her assistance all of whom were cured, aftei 
praying in the chapel wherein she rested. Contemporary 
writers have left us authentic details of these wonders ; of 
the many, we will relate but one, the truth of which wai 
sworn to before the Apostolic Judges ; it will afford the reader 
gome idea of the others 

A man of Marburg named Henry, aged forty years, had 
for some time such weak sight that he often mistook cornfields 
for the high road, and this drew upon him the ridicule of hit 
companions. 

At length he became entirely blind, and had to be led 
wherever he wished to go. He had himself guided to th 
tomb of her who was already denominated the happy Elit* 



350 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

beth, and he made a vow to her and offered two wax taper* 
The judges asked him what words he used when invoking her, 
and he repeated the following : 

" Dear Lady, St. Elizabeth, cure my eyes, and I will al 
ways be thy faithful servant, and I will pay each year two 
pence to thy hospital" and immediately he received clearei 
sight than he had ever before possessed ; this happened on 
the fifteenth day after the death of the saint. 

The account of these wonders spread rapidly throughout 
the neighbourhood of Marburg, and greater crowds daily 
came to solicit relief from their respective sufferings ; the 
Divine Mercy responded to the faith of the Christian people, 
and granted to the prayers of those who petitioned Elizabeth 
as their advocate numerous and palpable graces. 

Master Conrad, watchful of the glorious effects of a life for 
which he was in some degree responsible, and some part of 
the renown of which he could assume with just reason, failed 
not to communicate to Pope Gregory IX. an account of the 
miracles which the Divine Power had been pleased to work 
at the tomb of the glorious dead, and of the ever increasing 
veneration of the people towards her ; this he requested him 
to confirm, by solemnly declaring her right to the invocation 
of the faithful. Notwithstanding that ninety years had rolled 
over the illustrious Pontiff, his heart was still youthful with 
love and solicitude for the honour of God and of the Church ; 
he already had the happiness of canonizing Saint Francis of 
A.ssisium, and had in this same year inscribed by the side of 
fche Seraph Saint in heaven, his most illustrious disciple, St. 
Anthony of Padua. The holy Pope then replied to Conrad with 
affectionate haste, but also with consummate prudence, " We 
have learned from thy letter," wrote he, " dear son, Conrad, 
with tears of sweet joy, how the glorious Master, whose power 
IB unlimited, has blessed His servant Elizabeth of illustrioui 
memory, during her life, our dearest daughter in Jesus Christ 



OF HUNGARY. 351 

and Duchess of Thuringia ; how from weak and fragile as she 
was by nature, He by His grace made her strong unalter 
able in the worship of His divine name and how after admit 
ting her to the assembly of the Saints, He has manifested by 
glorious signs the beatitude which He has granted unto her." 

Meanwhile the Pontiff remembering that all that glistens ii 
not gold , and wishing to remove every shadow of doubt from 
minds even the most sceptical, he commanded the Archbishop 
of Mayence, the Abbot of Eberbach, and Master Conrad, to 
collect all the public and solemn testimonies on every circum 
stance in the life of the Duchess that could have been agreeable 
to God and man, as well as of the miracles which had been 
wrought after her death ; and after having re-wntten these 
depositions to affix to them their seals, and to send them to 
Rome by trust-worthy messengers. He prescribed at the 
same time the forms which were to be observed in the exami 
nation of witnessei, with an attention even to the most minute 
details, which proves at once his care and wisdom in this de 
licate affair. 

Sigefrid, Archbishop of Mayence, in whose diocese the city 
of Marburg and the tomb of Elizabeth were situated, had 
been equally impressed with admiration at the wonders the 
Divine Goodness was pleased to work amongst his flock. 
At the request of Master Conrad, and in the fulfilment of a 
revelation made to him in a vision, he went to Marburg to 
cjnsecrate solemnly, on the feast of St. Lawrence (10th Au 
gust, 1232), two Altars which the faithful had erected in ho 
nour of Elizabeth in the chapel in which she was interred 
An immense multitude had assembled to assist at this cere 
mony, as well as tc listen to the sermon which Master Con 
rad was to preach in commemoration of Ais illustrious penitent. 
During his discourse he remembered that he could not have a 
more favourable opportunity of fulfilling the mandate of tne 
Pope, so without further reflection, he enjoined all thow 



352 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

amongst his auditory who had obtained any cure or heavenly 
favour through the intercession of the Duchess, to present 
themselves with their witnesses on the next morning at the 
hour of Prime, before the Archbishop of Mayence, and the 
other Prelates who had come to assist at the dedication of the 
Altars. 

At the appointed time a considerable number of personi 
were assembled, all of whom affirmed that they had received 
graces through the intercession of Elizabeth ; as the Arch 
bishop was obliged to depart on account of some very pressing 
business, he waited only till the most remarkable statement* 
were written out ; he could not seal them, neither could the 
other Prelates, as none of them had brought their episcopal 
seals. 

Master Conrad copied these depositions word for word, and 
received many others on oath ; and after having re-read the 
entire for the Archbishop of Mayence, and the abbot of Eber- 
bach, who found nothing to change therein, he forwarded 
them to the Pope together with an account of the life of Eliza 
beth from his own recollections. This precious memorial has 
been preserved, and forms the most ancient source from which 
the historian of the saint s life could derive information. This 
first enumeration of miracles transmitted by Master Conrad, 
contains detailed accounts of thirty-seven sudden and super 
natural cures, made out according to the Pope s directions, 
with the most precise references, as to places, dates and per- 
lons, as well as the form of prayer used in each case. The 
greater number of these recitals excite in us at least the deep 
est interest. In them we perceive that the sufferers who had 
recourse to her, spoke always when seeking her assistance in 
the tender and familiar language which her extreme humility 
had permitted during her life : " Dear Saint Elizabeth," said 
they, " cure my limb and I will ever be thy faithful servant." 
Or, " Dear sainted lady and Duchess Elizabeth, I recommend 



OF HUNOARt. 353 



to thee my daughter." " O blessed Elizabetl ," cried a poor 
mother, whose son had died and was about to be buried, 
" why have I thus lost my child ? come to my assistance and 
bring him again to life." In a moment after the pulses of 
the child began to beat, he was restored from the dead, and 
after having for a long time striven to speak, he said towards 
midnight, " Where am I, beloved ?" He had not as yet re 
cognised his mother. 

Another poor woman, whose daughter had been for five 
years suffering from painful infirmities, amongst others, from 
enormous tumours on the back and breast, brought her to the 
tomb of Elizabeth and remained there for two days in prayer. 
At the end of that time thinking that her supplications were 
unheeded, she murmured loudly against the saint, saying, 
"As thou hast not listened to me, I will hinder every one 
from coming to thy sepulchre." In this irritated mood she 
left Marburg, but had not gone beyond a mile and a half, 
when the screams and agony of her daughter obliged her to 
rest near a fountain in the village of Rosdorf ; the girl slept 
for a few minutes, and when she awoke she said that she had 
seen a beauteous lady whose hands were smooth and white, 
that she had laid her hands gently on the sorest parts of her 
body, while saying to her, "Arise and walk," and imme 
diately the young girl cried out, " my mother, I feel my 
self recovered in all my body." They returned together to 
the tomb to give thanks to the saint, and left there the bas 
ket in which the sufferer had been carried. 

A young man whose limbs were paralysed, and who waj 
also affected with a spinal malady, was brought in a chariot 
to the grave of the Duchess, where the pain in his back waj 
cured, and as they brought him home he said, " Saint Eliza 
beth, I return no more to thy shrine, unless that by thy mer 
ey I can go there on my feet ; but indeed I will go if tho 
obtainest for me that favour." S^rne days after, on the feait 



354 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

of All Saints, he found that strength was entirely restored 
to his limbs, and that he was thus enabled to accomplish 
his vow. < 

It is almost -ui, rpgrpt +W ;v<> discontinue these 
dotes, so replete are they with precious traces of the faith and 
manners of that age. 

This collection of testimony was not completed until the 
first mouths of the year 1233, and their transmission to Roma 
was delayed by some cause unknown to us. Before they 
were sent Conrad had perished, the victim of his zeal for the 
faith. 

The boldness with which he accused and pursued the nobles 
and even powerful princes when once their tendency to heresy 
was suspected, excited their terrible hatred and rancour against 
him, and these feelings were augmented by the excessive, and 
perhaps sometimes, unjust severity of many of his proceedings 
On the 30th of July, as he was journeying from Mayence to 
Marburg, he was surprised near the village of Kappel by sev 
eral squires and vassals of the Count de Sayn, whom he had 
accused of heresy ; they darted upon him and strangled him. 
The assassins wished to spare his disciple and companion, Bro 
ther Gerard, a Franciscan, but he clung so closely to his mas 
ter that it was impossible to kill one without the other. The 
bodies of Conrad and his friend were carried to Marburg with 
the deep regret of the people. He was interred in the same 
chapel with the Duchess, and at a little distance from her se 
pulchral stone. 

The death of Conrad, who had so faithfully watched over 
her posthumous glory, as he had over her soul s weal during 
her life, was a great obstacle in the way of the canonization of 
Elizabeth, which so many faithful souls had desired and hoped 
for. Some of the proofs that he had collected were neglected 
or lost, and ti 3 popular feeling on the subject began to de 



OF HUFOART 355 

But the Lord delayed not to raise up a new and zealous 
defender of the glory of His humble servant, and that at the 
time that it was least expected. Of the two brothers left by 
Duke Louis, husband of our dear Elizabeth, and of whose 
base conduct towards their sister-in-law we have read, the 
elder, Henry, governed the dominions during the minority of 
Hermann, son of Louis ; the other, Conrad, revelled in all the 
unbridled indulgence that youthful passion could suggest. In 
1232, on account of a penance inflicted by the Archbishop of 
Mayence on the abbot of Reynhartsbruim, who was always 
protected by the House of Thuringia, the Landgrave Conrad 
was so angry with the Prelate that he rushed upon him in 
the assembled chapter at Erfurth, dragged him by the hair, 
threw him on the ground and would have stabbed him but 
that his servants interfered. But not content with this ex 
cess, he began to ravage the possessions of the See of May 
ence, and amongst other places the city of Fritzlar. 

He took it by assault, and to revenge the derision with 
which he had been regarded by the inhabitants during the 
siege, he set fire to the town, and burned its convents, 
churches, and a great number of the people. He then re 
tired to his castle of Tenneberg, where he was soon touched 
by the hand of God. 

There came to his gate one day, a girl of bad character, 
who asked him for some relief ; the Landgrave reproached bet 
severely on the infamy of her life ; the unfortunate creature 
replied, that dire want had forced her to it, and gave him such 
a startling account of this misery that he was so far moved aa 
to promise her to provide for her future wants in case she re 
nounced her criminal ways. This incident produced a power 
ful effect on his mind ; he passed the whole night in extrem 
agitation, reflecting how much more guilty he was than the 
unhappy woman whom he had insulted, whom poverty had 
Impelled to rice, whilst he, who was rich and powerful, nuuk 



S56 LIFE OF BT. ELIZABETH, 

bad a use of all God s gifts. In the morning he commthft- 
cated these thoughts to his companions in crime and violence, 
and learned with extreme surprise that they had made the 
same reflections ; they regarded this interior voice, speaking 
to them simultaneously, as a warning from Heaven, and they 
resolved to do penance and to amend their lives. 

They went first on a pilgrimage barefooted to Gladenbach, 
and thence to Rome, to obtain from the Pope himself absolu 
tion of their sins. 

When they arrived at Rome (1233), Conrad gave an ex 
ample of the most sincere repentance and fervent piety. 
Every day he received at his table twenty-four poor people 
whom he served himself. The Pope gave him absolution on 
condition of being reconciled with the Archbishop of Mayence 
and with all those whom he had wronged, of building and en 
dowing a monastery in place of those he had burned, of mak 
ing a public apology at the ruins of Fritzlar, and of entering 
himself into a religious order. Whilst he was thus returning 
to God, the remembrance of his holy and humble sister-in-law, 
whom he had despised and persecuted, presented itself to his 
mind ; he resolved to atone for the injuries he had done her 
by labouring to extend her glory ; and in the conversations he 
had with the Sovereign Pontiff he spoke of her great sanctity 
and urged her speedy canonization. 

Immediately after his return to Germany he hastened to 
fulfil the conditions of his absolution. He went to Fritzlar, 
where those who had escaped from the massacre of the inha 
bitants had taken refuge near the ruins of the principal mo 
nastery ; he prostrated himself before them and begged of 
them for the love of God to forgive him the injury he had 
done. 

He then walked in procession, barefooted, with a whip in 
bis hand, he knelt at tho Church-porch and invited all who 
wished to do sc to come and administer to him the discipline 



Or HUHGARf. 357 

Of all the crowd there was found but one willing .o punish 
him, and that was an old woman who advanced and gave him 
several stripes on the back which he endured with great pa 
tience. He then set about re-constructing the Monastery 
and the Church where lie established carious ; and at the same 
time he conceded many important privileges to the town of 
Fritzlar At his return to Eisenach, with the assistance of 
his brother Henry, he founded a convent of Friars Preachers, 
under the invocation of St. John, but for the special intention 
of his sister-in-law Elizabeth, to atone for his having been an 
accomplice in exposing her to the bitter sufferings she had 
endured in that same town of Eisenach after her cruel expul 
sion from Wartburg. 

From this time forward the young Landgrave devoted him 
self to the extension of Elizabeth s glory, with a zeal similar 
to that of the deceased Master Conrad. Having decided 
ipon entering the Teutonic Order, he took the habit and Cross 
in the Church of the hospital of St. Francis, which Elizabeth 
uad founded at Marburg ; he made his brother confirm the 
donation that she had made to the hospital, with the property 
unrounding it to these knightly monks, and added all his own 
possessions in Hesse and Thuringia. He obtained also a re 
cognition of these settlements by the Pope, and that this hos 
pital thus become one of the strongholds of the Teutonic Order, 
should be exempt from all episcopal jurisdiction, and endowed 
with many other rights and prerogatives, all in honour of the 
Duchess Elizabeth, who was interred thero, in order, as he 
said in his petition to the Pope, that this sacked body, already 
celebrated by the veneration of the faithful, should enjoy the 
privilege of liberty. 

Meanwhile he earnestly entreated the Pope to make a so 
lemn recognition of the graces that God granted daily through 
the intercession of Elizabeth. Tiie Pope yielded at length to 
his prayers, and wishing, says a contemporary writer, that 



358 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

the pi >us simplicity of the Church militant should not be de 
ceived, if the facts brought forward were not proved, but also 
that the Church triumphant should not be deprived of thii 
addition to its glory, if the truth was found equa to the re 
nown, in a brief dated the 5th of the Ides of October, 1234, 
the Pontiff charged the Bishop of Hildesheim, the abbots 
Hermann de Georgenthal and Raymond de Herford to proceed 
to a new examination of the miracles attributed to Elizabeth. 
In this brief he also ordered the three Commissaries to send 
him the result of the inquiries made before by the Archbishop 
of Mayence and Master Conrad, and in case they could not 
find these, to take in writing the testimony of the persons pre 
viously examined, and of all others who could afford more in 
formation, and to send all to Rome before the expiration of five 
months from the receipt of this letter. The Bishop and his 
colleagues, docile to the injunctions of the Sovereign Pontiff, 
had this brief published in the surrounding dioceses, and 
appointed a day for all the faithful who knew of any cure or 
grace obtained through the intercession of the Duchess to como 
to Marburg, and where possible, that these facts should be 
attested by their prelates and pastors. On the day fixed the 
Apostolic Commissaries went to Marbourg, where they found 
assembled several thousand persons come from all parts of 
Europe, with many of the Abbots of the Cistercian and Pre- 
monstratensian Orders, a great number of Priors, and of 
Friars Minors and Preachers, of Canons regular of the Teu 
tonic Order, and of many other learned and prudent men. The 
witnesses made their depositions on oath before this solemn 
tribunal ; their testimonies were scrupulously weighed and 
examined by ecclesiastical lawyers and professors of juris 
prudence. 

We do not recognise in this inquiry any names but thos 
of the four attendants of the Duchess, Guta who had lived 
with her from her fifth year, Ysentrude her confidant and beat 



OP HUNGARY. 358 

friend, Elizabeth and Irmengarde who had been in her ser 
vice during her sojourn at Marburg. These four then de 
tailed all they knew of the life of their mistress ; these price 
less narratives have been preserved entire, and furnish us 
with most of the interesting and touching anecdotes that 
we have related in the course of this history. The deposi 
tions of most of the other witnesses referred to miracles ob 
tained through her intercession ; amongst the immense num 
ber reported, we remark the resuscitation of several persons 
from the dead. An hundred and twenty-nine caees were 
judged the worthiest of being transcribed and forwaided to 
Rome, after having been read and sealed by the Bishop of 
Hildesheim and the other Prelates and Abbots. The Abbot 
Bernard de Buch, Salomon Magnus, a Dominican, and Bro 
ther Conrad of the Teutonic Order, formerly Landgrave and 
brother-in-law of the Saint, were appointed to bring to the 
Pope the result of this examination, as well as of that made 
three years before by Master Conrad. They were at the 
same time the bearers of letters from a great number of 
Bishops, Abbots, Princes, Princesses, and nobles of every de 
gree, who humbly requested the common Father of the faith 
ful, to confirm her right to veneration on earth who had already 
received the felicitations of the angels, and not to suffer the 
pure flame of celestial charity, enkindled by the hand of God^ 
to serve as an example te the world, to be obscured by the va 
pour* of contempt, or extinguished bv the scoffing >f m-:esy. 



SCO LIFE Of ST. ELIZABETH. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

SOW THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH WAS CANONIZED BY POPE GREGORY 
AND THE GREAT JOY AND VENERATION OF THE FAITHFUL Hi 
GERMANY ON THE OCCASION OF THE EXALTATION OF HEB B*L- 
IO8 AT MARBURG. 

* Annuntiaverunt coeli justltiam ejns, et viderunt omnes populi glorlam ejut." 

Pa. ICY! 

u Mihi hcem nimis honorificati aunt, amlcl tul, Deus." 

Ps. euzii. 18. 

IN the spring-time of the year 1235, the Pope was at Peru 
gia, in the same city where seven years before he had canon 
ized St. Francis of Assisium, when the penitent Conrad 
with the other messengers presented themselves before him to 
request that he would inscribe amongst the blessed ones of 
Heaven, and beside the seraphic father, the young and hum 
ble woman, who had been in Germany his first-born Minorite 
child, a^d the most ardent of his disciples. Their arrival 
made a ^,reat impression on the clergy and the people. 

The Pontiff opened their despatches in presence of the 
Cardinals, of the principal prelates of the Roman court, and 
of a number of the clergy who had come to listen to them ; h* 
coramunifttted all the details transmitted of the life of Eliza 
beth and of the miracles attributed to her. They were greatly 
surprised, we *<*, informed, and affected even to tears by so 
much humility, so much love of the poor and of poverty, so 
many wonders wrought by grace from on high. Nevertheless 
the Pope resolved to use the greatest vigilance and severity in 
tne examination of these miracles ; he proceeded to it with the 
cautiousness which characterized him, and scrupulously ob- 



07 

iervcd all the formalities required to dissipate even the leait 
shadow of doubt. The care and exactness which were used 
in this discussion were so remarkable, that it merited to be 
cited as a model after the lapse, of five centuries, by Benedict 
XIV., one of the most illustrious successors of Gregory IX 
All these precautions, however, served but to render the truth 
more incontestible and brilliant ; the more severe was the ex 
amination in respect to facts and persons, the more complete 
was fcbeir certainty shown ; and to use the language of con 
temporary writers, the ploughshare of apostolic authority in 
passing over this yet unexplored field, brought to light an 
immense treasure of sanctity ; and it was plainly seen that the 
hand of the Lord had guided the dear Elizabeth through the 
buffetings of the tempestuous waves of earthly tribulation, and 
landed her upon the shore of eternal repose. 

In a Consistory presided over by the sovereign Pontiff, and 
at which assisted the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem, 
and a great number of Cardinals, the officially-authenticated 
documents on the life and sanctity of Elizabeth were read ; 
and all with one accord declared that, without delay, her glo 
rious name should be inscribed in the catalogue of the saints 
on earth, as it was already written in the Book of Life, aa 
had been wonderfully proved by the Lord Himself. 

This history was also read to the people, whose piety waa 
profoundly affected by it, and who, filled with admiration, 
cried out, " Canonization, Most holy Father, Canonization, 
and that without delay." The Pope required no further pres 
sing to yield to this wonderful unanimity, and to give more 
iplendour to the ceremony of canonization he decided that it 
should take place on Pentecost day, (26th May, 1235). 

Duke Conrad, whose zeal was redoubled by the success of 
his efforts, engaged to make all the preparations necessary for 
this imposing solemnity. 

The day of the great feast having arrived, the Pope, at- 
16 



102 

companied by the patriarchs, cardinals, and prelates, and fol* 
lowed by several thousand people, with the sound of trumpet* 
and other instruments of music, walked in procession to th 
convent of the Dominicans at Perugia; every one, from th 
Pope to the lowest of the people, carried tapers which the 
Landgrave had provided at his own expense. 

The procession entered the Church, and the preparatory 
eremonies having been performed, the Cardinal Deacon, as 
sistant of the Pope, read in a loud voice for the faithful, an 
account of the life and miracles of Elizabeth, in the midst of 
the acclamations of the people, and the torrents of tears of 
holy joy and pious enthusiasm which flowed from the eyes of 
these fervent Christians, happy in counting thus a new and 
powerful friend in Heaven. After this, the Pope requested 
all present to join him in praying that God would not permit 
them to be deceived in this matter. When every one was 
kneeling the Pope entoned the Veni Creator Spiritus, which 
was all sung by the assembly. When the hymn was termi 
nated the Cardinal Deacon at the Pope s right hand said, Flee- 
tamus f/enua, and then his Holiness and all the people knelt 
and prayed during a certain time ; then the Cardinal on the 
left said, Levatc, and all arose. The Pope was enthroned 
and assumed the mitre, then he declared Elizabeth a Saint in 
the following words : 

" In honour of the Almighty God, the Father and the Son 
and the Holy Ghost, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith 
and the increase of the Christian religion, by the authority of 
the same omnipotent God, by that of the blessed Apostles, 
Peter and Paul, and by our own, we declare and define that 
Elizabeth of happy memory, in her life-time Duchess of Thu- 
ringia, is a saint, and should be inscribed in the catalogue of 
the saints. We insert her name there ourselves, and at the 
same time ordain that the Universal Church celebrate he* 
Feast and Office with due solemnity and devotion, every year 



OF HUNGARY. 

on the anniversary day of her death, the 13th of the Kalendi 
of December. And in addition, by the same authority, we 
grant to all the faithful, who with true contrition shall have 
confessed their sins and shall visit her tomb on that day, ar 
indulgence of one year and forty days." 

The sound of organs and the peal of bells hailed the last 
words of the Pontiff, who having soon after laid down his 
mitre entoned the canticle of joy, Te Deum laudamus, which 
was sung by the congregation with harmony and enthusiasm 
sufficient to ascend even to the Heavens. A Cardinal Deacon 
at its conclusion said in a loud voice : 

Ora pro nobis Sancta Elisabeth. Alleluia! 

and the Pope chaunted the collect or prayer, which he had 
himself composed in honour of the new saint. Then the Car 
dinal Deacon said the Conjiteor, inserting therein the name of 
Elizabeth immediately after those of the Apostles; and the 
Pope gave the usual absolution and benediction, making men 
tion of her when commemorating the merits and prayers of 
the Saints. The solemn Mass was then celebrated ; at the Of 
fertory three of the Cardinal Judges laid on the Altar suc 
cessively, the mystical oblations of tapers, bread, and wine; 
with two turtle-doves, as emblems of the contemplative and 
solitary life, and two doves representing the active, but pure 
and faithful life, and finally, a cage full of little birds, which 
were set at liberty as symbols of the aspirings of holy souls 
to God. 

In the same convent of the Dominicans at Perugia, where 
this ceremony had taken place, a new Altar was erected in 
honour of the Saint, to which the Sovereign Pontiff attached 
the prailege of an indulgence of thirty days for all who cam* 
to pray there. This was then the first place where the veue 
ration of the dear St. Elizabeth was officially celebrated, and 
tier after the religious of that convent honoured her few* 



lira OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

day by great solemnities, and by chaunting her office with 
the same melodies used in that of their holy father, St. 
Dominic. 

To increase the joy of this so happy day, the good Dukt 
Conrad invited to his own table three hundred religious, and 
sent an abundance of bread, wine, fish, eggs, milk, <fce. to 
several convents in the neighbourhood, and particularly to 
those of the poor Clares, to whom the new Saint seemed to b 
a special Patroness in Heaven, after having been their rival 
upon earth ; he also distributed to several thousand poor peo 
ple, in fact to all who sought relief, meat, bread, wine and 
money, not in his own name, but in that of the Teutonic Or 
der, and especially in honour of her who had ever been to the 
poor a prodigal in generosity. 

It was certainly the best way to do her homage that which 
would most surely have brought a smile to her benign lips 
We may imagine, with pleasurable emotion, the gladness of 
these poor mendicants, to many of whom the renown of the 
royal and holy stranger was manifested in so benevolent a 
manner. Conrad s generosity so pleased the Pope that he 
invited him to his own table, which was a great distinction, 
made him sit by his side, and directed that all his attendants 
should be treated magnificently. When he took leave in 
order to return to Germany, the Pope granted all the favours 
he requested for persons whose petitions were long under con 
sideration. Then he gave his Papal benediction, and when 
embracing him shed many tears. 

On the first of Jane, 1235, the Pope published the Bull of 
Canonization, which was immediately forwarded to all the 
Princes and Bishops of the Church. 

The following translation, with some corrections, is that 
given by Father Appollinaris in his history, page 51ft 



Or HUNGARY*. 361 

"GREGORY, SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD. 

" To all the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Arcb- 
11 deacons, Priests, and other prelates of the Church by whom 
" these letters shall be received. Health. 

" The infinite Majesty of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, 
" the sweet Saviour and Redeemer of our souls, considering 
" from the highest Heavens the original nobleness and excel- 
" lence of our condition, now disfigured and corrupted by the 
" sin of our first parents, and by a multiplicity of miseries, 
" vices and crimes, touched with compassion for His dearest 
" creature, resolved to exert His omnipotent mercy, to deliver 
" mankind seated in the shadow of death, and to recall poor 
"exiles to the country of blessed liberty, judging it most 
" reasonable in His divine and infinite wisdom, tnat as it is 
" the duty of a workman who has Commenced some master- 
" piece to perfect it, and if through misfortune it should be- 
" eoine decayed and lose its lustre, to repair and restore it to 
"its first form ; so to Him beyond all others did it belong to 
"redeem and to renew the original dignity of His fallen crea- 
" ture. With these designs He entered the narrow womb of 
" the most holy Virgin, (if we can call that narrow which 
"was sufficient to contain Him who was infinite,) from His 
" Heavenly throne He entered and concealed Himself within 
" the virginal body of His most blessed mother, He there as- 
" sumed the weakness of our nature, and from invisible that 
" He was, He became visible ; by the adorable mystery of the 
" incarnation, He tramples on, and overcomes the Prince of 
" darkness, He triumphs over his malice by the glorious rc- 
" demption of the human race, and points out to His faithful 
" bj His divine instructions a certain path by which they can 
regain their true country. 

"The blessed and gracious Elizabeth, of royal birth, and by 
ailianoe Duchesa of Thuringia, considering with atttantioa 



S66 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

"and wisely understanding this admirable economy of om 
salvation, courageously resolved to follow the footsteps of 
" the Saviour, and to labour with all her strength in tht 
" practice of virtue ; in order to render herself worthy to be 
" illumined with the eternal Light, from the dawning of her 
" life until its evening, she never ceased to rejoice in the de- 
" lights of celestial love, and with supernatural fervour she 
" employed all the powers of her heart to love solely and 
" sovereignly Jesus Christ, our Saviour, who being true God 
" and true eternal Son of God, became mau and Son of the 
" blessed Virgin, Queen of angels and of men ; a most pure 
" and ardent love which replenished her with an abundance 
"of heavenly sweetness, and imparted to her the divine 
" favours which are bestowed at the banquet of the adorable 
" Lamb. 

"And being enlightened with this same ineffable clarity and 
" acting as a true child of ths Gospel, she saw in the person 
" of her neighbour this divine Jesus, the only object of her 
" affection ; she loved Him with so admirable a charity that 
" her delight was to see herself surrounded by the poor, to 
" live and converse with them ; she most dearly cherished 
" those whose misery and disgusting maladies rendered them 
" most horrible, and whose appearance would be sufficient to 
" terrify the strongest hearts in the world : she so charitably 
11 distributed all her wealth amongst them that she left herself 
" poor and indigent to supply all things necessary for tlnm in 
" abundance. She was but of that youthful age when chil- 
" dren still require instructors, and already she was the good 
" mother, the guardian and protectress of the poor, and her 
" heart was full of compassion for their sufferings. 

" Having learned that the supreme Judge would in His 
"last sentence make particular commemoration of the serviceg 
done Him, and that the entrance to eternal glory was, in a 
* manner at the disposal of the poor, she entertained saci 



OF HUNGARY. 367 

1 an esteem for their condition, and strove with so much at- 
" siduity to conciliate the afftction and favour of those whom 

I people of her rank usually regard as contemptible and in- 
" supportable, that not alone content with giving them almi 
"from her abundant riches, exhausting her granaries, her 

II coffers, and her purse to help them, she also renounced the 
" use of all delicacies prepared for her nourishment, and ri- 
" goivusly macerated her frail body by fasting and the pangs 
" of hunger that they might fare better ; she constrained her- 
" self to a perpetual parsimony that they might be more fully 
" satiated, and she practised an increasing austerity that all 
" things might be more easy to them ; virtues the more laud- 
" able and meritorious, as they proceeded from her pure 
" charity and abundant devotion, without being constrained 
" or obliged to perform them by any person. 

" What more can I say to yon of her ? This noble prin- 
" cess, renouncing all the pleasures that nature and her rank 
" afforded her, and uniting all her desires into the single wish 
"of pleasing and serving God, during the lifetime of the 
" prince her husband, with his permission and retention of his 
" rights over her, she promised and preserved a most faithful 
" obedience to her confessor. 

" But after the decease of her honoured spouse, esteeming 
" the good life she had led up to that period as still imperfect, 
" she assumed the holy habit, and lived the remainder of her 
" days as a most perfect religious, honouring by her state and 
" continual prayers the sacred and adorable mysteries of the 
"death and bitter passion of our Saviour. O blessed woman ! 
" O admirable lady 1 O sweet Elizabeth ! Most justly did 
" this name, which signifies being filled with God, suit you, 
"since yci sc frequently satiated the poor creatures who are 
** the images and representatives of God, seeing that they art 
" the dear members of His divine Son. 

" You have most jus ly merited to receive the brtad o/ 



S68 LIFE OF 8T. ELIZABETH, 

I angels,, since you so often ministered to the angels and tefr 
" restrial messengers of the King of Heaven. 

" blessed and most noble widow ! more fruitful in 
" grace, than during your honourable marriage you had been 

II in children, you sought that strength in virtue which 
" natur seems to deny to woman and became a valiant war- 
" rior against the enemies of our salvation. You have con- 
" quered them with the buckler of Faith, as the Apostle says, 
" with the armour of Justice, the sword of the Spirit and of 
fervour, the Helmet of salvation, and the Lance of perse- 
" verancc 

" Thus most amiable did this dear Elizabeth render herself 
" to her immortal Spouse, always united to the Queen of vir- 
" gins by the heartfelt affection she had for her service, and 
" by the alliance of perfect conformity, following her example 
she bowed down her highness to the works of a most hum- 
" ble servant ; thus did she also resemble her good patroness 
" Elizabeth whose name she bore, and the venerable Zachary, 
" by walking simply and without reproach in the ways of God, 
" preserving with affection the grace of God in her inmost 
" soul ; bringing it forth and manifesting it exteriorly by holy 
" actions and continual good works ; increasing and nourish- 
"ing it by the constant acquisition of virtues, she thus 
" merited at the close of her days to be received lovingly by 
" Him, in whom alone we should put all our trust, and who 
" has reserved for Himself the wonderful power of exalting 
" the innocent and the humble, and who delivered her from the 
"bonds of death to place her on a throne brilliant with light 
"inaccessible. But while in the midst of the delights and 
" riches of the eternal empire, triumphant in the company of 
" the saints and angels, her spirit rejoices in the presence of 
" God, and shines with splendour in the abyss of suprems 
M glory ; her charity has, as it were, made her descend from 
M that throne to enlighten us who live in this world s dark 



OF HUNGARY. S6S 

"tees, aoj to console us by a great number ^f miracles, by 
u virtue of which good Catholics are confirmed and in- 
u creased in Faith, in Hope, and in Charity, infidels arc 
M illumined and informed of the true way of sahation, and 
"hardened heretics cover their faces with shame and confu- 
u sion. 

" For the enemies of the Church seeing before their eyes, 
"are unable to deny, that by the merits of her, who, while 
u in the prison of the flesh, was a lover of poverty, full 
"of sweetness and mercy, who wept frequently not only 
a for her own sins, but through an excess of charity for 
"those of others, who hungered after justice, who led a 
u most pure and innocent life, and who in the continual per- 
u secution and opprobrium by which she was assailed, pre- 
" that by the earnest invocation of this faithful spouse of 
" Jesus Christ, the dead are miraculously restored to life, 
44 light is given to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to 
" the dumb, and the lame are enabled to walk. Thus the 
" miserable heretics, full of rage and envy, notwithstanding 
11 their fury and the poison wherewith they would infect all 
" Germany, are forced to behold in this same country the 
" religion which they would fain eradicate, arising gloriously, 
" and with unspeakable joy triumphing over their malice and 
" impiety. 

" These wonders having been attested before us, and 
" supported by incontestible proofs, with the advice of our 
11 brethren the venerable patriarchs, Archbishops and Bishops, 
" and other prelates at our court assembled, according to the 
1 duty of our office, which obliges us to watch diligently over 
" all that tends to the greats glory of our Saviour, we have 
u icicribed Elizabeth in the catalogue of the saints, and 
u enjoin you to cause her feast to be celebrated solemnly 01 
* the thirteenth day of the Kalends of December, being thai 
16* 



S70 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

" on which she burst the bonds of death, and was admitted 
" to the fo mtain of supreme delights : that by her iiiterces 
" sion we may obtain what she already obtained from Christ, 
" and which ehe will gloriously enjoy for eternity. And also, 
" to employ the power which is committed to us from Oi 
" High to enable the universal faithful to taste of these de- 
" lights of the invisible court, and to exalt the name of the 
" Almighty by causing Him to be honoured by the crowda 
" who will come to the venerated sepulchre of His spouse, 
" full of confidence in the mercy of the Omnipotent, by the 
" authority of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, we 
" bounteously grant an indulgence of one year and forty days 
" to all those pious men and women, who having worthily 
" confessed their sins with contrition shall come there on her 
* festival-day, and during its Octave to offer their prayers and 
u supplications. 

"Given at Perugia, in the Kalends of June, in the Ninth 
u year of our Pontificate." 

Scarcely had this bull been published, when the Pope 
seems to have been anxious to express his love and admira 
tion for the new saint in a still more special manner. In 
seeking some one to whom he could address himself to un- 

O 

burthen his heart of the emotions with which it was filled, he 
thought of writing to a sovereign whom he cherished on 
account of her piety and devotion to the holy see : this was 
Beatrice, daughter of Philip, King of the Romans, and wifa 
to Ferdinand III., king of Castile and Leon, since canonized 
On the 7th of June, the Pontiff directed to her a long epistle, 
wherein he praised the virtues of Elizabeth, and in support 
of them quoted many scriptural texts. " During these past 
days," writes he, " there has been presented to us, According 
,c the expression of Jesus son of Sirach, an admirable vessel, 
the work of the Most High, destined to serve as a furnace of 
charity by the ardour of its good works. This Yewel rf 



or HI NO ART 3V 1 

election, consecrated to the Lori, is no other than St. Eliza 
beth, whose name interpreted signifies, Satiety of God, because 
she often satisfied God in the persons of the poor and the 
sick. 

"She nourished the Lord with three loaves which she bor 
rowed from her friend in the night of her tribulation the 
bread of truth, the bread of charity, and the bread of courage. 
***** This Elizabeth, so great a lover of the eternal 
felicity, served to the table of the Master of Ileaven and 
earth three precious viands, in renouncing all He forbids, in 
obeying all He ordains, in accomplishing all He counsels. 
***** Yes, shy is truly one of whom it is written, an 
admirable vessel, the work of the Most High. A vessel admi 
rable by the virtue of her humility, the lowliness of her body, 
the tenderness of her compassion, which shall be admired 
throughout all ages ! Oh v .gsel of election, vessel of mercy 1 
Thou hast offered to the tyrants and to the great ones of this 
world the wine of true compunction! Behold, from amongst 
them, already one, thy brother Conrad, latdj Landgrave, 
still young and beloved by the world, whom thou hast so 
inebriated with this sacred drink, that forsaking all dignities, 
and renouncing all, even to his tunic, he has escaped, as it 
were, naked, from the hands of those who crucify the Saviour 
and taken refuge under the shadow of the Cross, which sacred 
seal he has impressed upon his heart. Again, behold thy 
sister, the virgin Agnes, daughter of the king of Bohemia, 
who in her so tender age fled from the imperial magnificence 
as from a venomous reptile, and, seizing the triumphant banner 
of the Cross, walks before her spouse, accompanied by a train 
of consecrated virgins. Work of the Most High I a new 
wonderwhichthe Lord has wrought upon the earth, since St. 
Elizabeth enshrined Jesus Christ in her heart since, by her 
love, she conceived and brought Him to the world and nour* 
iihed Him. The Devil, our enemy, raised two great wallj to 



372 LIFE Or ST. ELIZABETH, 

hide from our eyes the splendour of the eternal Light : theat 
are, the ignorance of our minds and the concupiscence of the 
flesh. But St. Elizabeth, taking refuge in her humility, over 
threw the wall of ignorance, and levelled the barriers of pride 
BO as to enjoy che inaccessible Light ; she uprooted concupis 
cence from her soul, and perfectly detached her heart from all 
terrestrial affection, the more surely to gain the only true and 
divine Love. 

" Already has she been introduced by the Virgin Mother 
of God to the couch of her heavenly Spouse. She is blessed 
amongst all women, and crowned with a diadem of ineffable 
glory; an<3 whilst the Church triumphant rejoices in her pres 
ence, she glorifies the Church militant by the splendour of her 
miracles. 

" Most dear daughter in Jesus Christ, we have wished tc 
place before thee the example of St. Elizabeth, as a mosrf 
precious pearl, for two reasons : first, that thou mayest often 
look into it as into a spotless mirror, in order to discover 
whether anything is hidden in thy conscience that could offend 
the eyes of the divine Majesty; again, that nothing should be 
wanted to thee that is necessary for the beautifying of a bride 
of Heaven ; and finally, that when thou shalt be invited to 
appear before Assuerus, that is the eternal King, He may find 
thee adorned with all virtues and clothed with good works 

" Given at Perugia, the tth of the Ides of June, in the 
Ninth year of our Pontificate." 

The bull of canonization soon arrived in Germany and wa 
received with enthusiasm. It appears that it was first pub 
lished at Erfurth, where on the occasion a festival of ten days 
was observed, and numerous distributions of alms were made 
to the poor. The Archbishop Sigefrid of Mayence fixed a day 
for the exaltation and translation of the body of the Saint, 
which did not take place until the following spring, in ordei 
to give the Bishops and the faithful of G ermany time to come 



OF HUNGARY. 

to Marburg to assist at the ceremony. Tit first day of 
May was that appointed for its celebration. On its approach 
the little city of Marburg and its environs were thronged by 
an immense concourse of people of all ranks ; if we are to be 
lieve contemporary historians, twelve hundred thousand Chris 
tians, united by faith and fervour, assembled before the tomb 
of the humble Elizabeth. 

All nations and tongues were there represented. Several 
pilgrims of both sexes came from France, from Bohemia and 
from her native land, the distant Hungary. All united iD 
laying that for centuries no such crowd had been se^n as that 
which came to honour the dear St. Elizabeth. 

All the royal family of Thuringia were present, the Duchess 
Sophia, her mother-in-law, with the Dukes Henery and Con 
rad, all anxious to expiate by this solemn homage the injuries 
which she had so nobly forgiven them. Her four little children 
were also there, with an immense number of princes, nobles, 
priests, religious and prelates. Amongst these were, besidef 
Sigefrid of Mayence, who presided at the ceremony, the Arch 
bishops of Cologne, Treves and Bremen ; the Bishops of Ham 
burg, Halberstadt, Merseburg, Bamberg, Worms, Spires 
Paderborn and Hildesheim. The Emperor Frederic II., then 
at the height of his glory, reconciled with the Pope, lately 
married to the young Isabella of England so celebrated for her 
beauty, had suspended all his occupations and military expe 
ditions, to yield to the attraction which led to Marburg so 
many of his subjects, and he came there to do homage to her 
whc had rejected his hand to give herself to God. 

The Teutonic knights having heard of the arrival cf the 
Emperor, thought it would be impossible to disinter the body 
of the Saint in his presence, so they resolved to anticipate the 
appointed time. Three days before that fixed, the Prior 
Ulric, accompanied by seven of the brethren, entered tho 
Church where she reposed, and after having carefully clod 



374 LIFE Of BT. ELIZABETH, 

all the doors, they proceeded to open the vault wherein WM 
her tomb 

Scarcely had the covering-stone been removed when a de 
lightful perfume was exhaled from her blessed remains ; the 
monks were penetrated with admiration at this sign of the 
divine mercy, for they knew that she had been buried with 
out being embalmed, or having aromatics or perfumes of any 
kind laid in her tomb. They found the holy body entire, 
without any appearance of corruption, though it had been 
learly five years in the ground. The hands were still piously 
joined in the form of a cross on her breast. 

They said to each other that doubtless this delicate and 
precious body suffered not the corruption of death, because 
during life she had never shrunk from any infection or stain, 
when there was question of relieving the poor. They took it 
then from its coffin, enveloped it in a rich drapery of purple, 
and laid it in a leaden case which they placed in the vault 
without shutting it down, so that no difficulty should be en 
countered in removing it on the day of the ceremony. 

On the first of May, before daybreak, the multitude 
assembled around the Church, and it was with difficulty that 
the Emperor could make his way through them, so as to reach 
the interior of the building. 

He seemed quite penetrated with devotion and humility ; 
he was barefooted and clad in an old grey tunic, such as that 
the Saint he came to honour used to wear, but he had on the 
imperial crown ; around him were the princes and electors also 
crowned, arid the Bishops and abbots with their mitres. This 
pompous procession advanced to the tomb of Elizabeth, and 
it was then, says a narrator, that was paid in glory and ho 
nour to the dear lady the price of the sufferings and self-denial 
she had endured in this world. The Emperor wished to be the 
first who should descend to the vault and lift the stone. The 
same pure and exquisite perfume by which the religious had 



OF HUVttAKT. 371 

been charmed and surprised, again exhaled .-teelf, and 
served to increase the piety of all who were present. The 
Bishops wished to raise the body from its tomb, the Emperoi 
assisted them, and fervently kissed the coiliu when they did 
so. The Bishops 1 seals were immediately affixed to it, and i 
was then solemnly carried by them and the Emperor with 
the sound of musical instruments and hymns of triumph to he 
place prepared for its reception. The hearts of the thousands 
who surrounded the Sanctuary burned with a fervent impa 
tience while expecting the coming of the holy relics, which 
they were anxious to look upon, to touch, and to kiss reve 
rently " O happy land," cried they, " sanctified by such a 
trust ! Guardian of such a treasure ! blessed time in which 
this treasure is jevealed to us 1" When the procession en 
tered through the ranks of the people, when they saw the 
ccffiu borne on the shoulders of the Emperor, of the princes 
and prelates, when they breathed the sweet odour that ex 
haled from it, their enthusiasm became boundless. "0 light, 
but most sacred body," cried they, " what weight have you 
with the Lord, what power to succour men I Who would 
not be drawn to you by this fragrant perfume, who would 
not run after the brilliant sanctity and marvellous beauty of 
thee, holy woman ? Let t ? :a heretics tremble, and the 
perfidious Jews be afraid. The faith of Elizabeth has con 
founded them. Behold her who was called a fool, and whose 
folly has triumphed over this world s wisdom I Even thb 
angels have honoured the tomb ; and now, behold all the 
people gathering around it, the nobles and the Roman Empe 
ror come to visit it. the wonderful mercy of the divine 
majesty! Behold her who during her life despised the glorj 
of the world, and shunned the society of the great, now ho 
noured magnificently by the Pope and the Emperor 1 She 
who always took the lowest place, who sat upoc the ground, 
who slept in the dust, is now exalted, lifted np by right 



876 

royal hands ! And justly so, for she became pour and sold 
all she possessed to purchase the priceless per.rl of eternal 
bliss." 

The sacred body having been exposed to the veneration of 
the faithful, the Office was solemnly celebrated in her honour, 
the proper Mass of the Saint was chaunted by the Aichbishop 
of Mayence. At the Offertory the Emperor approached the 
shrine, and placed on the head of the dear Elizabeth a 
golden crown, saying : " Since in thy lifetime thou wouldst 
not be crowned as my empress, I wish at least to crown 
thee to-day as an immortal Queen in the Kingdom of God." 

He *iso gave a magnificent gold cup in which he used to 
be served at banquets, and then led to the offering the young 
Hermann, son of the Saint ; the Empress conducting thither 
the little princesses, the two Sophias and Gertrude. 

The Old Duchess Sophia, with her two sons Henry and 
Conrad, also approached the glorified rei tains of her whom 
they had so long slighted, they remained a considerable time 
in prayer, and made rich presents in her honour. 

The nobility and the people thronged around the shrine to 
say prayers and to make their offerings. 

The inhabitants of each country insisted upon singing the 
canticles of the Office in their own languages, which protracted 
the ceremonies for an immense time. 

Nothing could exceed the richness and abundance of the 
gifts which these pious souls brought to the miracle-famed 
shrine where -eposed the dear Elizabeth ; the women left their 
rings, brooches and other jewels ; some persons already pre 
sented chalices, missals, and sacerdotal requisites for the 
stately and beautiful Church, which they insisted should be 
immediately erected in her honour, " that she might rest there 
in a manner befitting her great sanctity, and that her soul 
might be more disposed to invoke God s mercies for her 
brethren." 



OF HUKOABT. 3D 

But soon a new wonder was perceived which still more in 
creased the veneration of the faithful, and demonstrated the 
solicitude of the Lord for the glory of His Holy One. The 
next morning, when the coffin containing the sacred body, 
and to which had been affixed the seals of the Bishops, wai 
opened, they found it full of a pure and delicate oil which 
gave forth a perfume like to that of the most precious spike 
nard. This oil flowed drop by drop from the relics of the 
Saint, like the bounteous dew of Heaven ; and when they 
collected or wiped these drops away, there came others, 
almost imperceptibly, and forming a kind of vapoury exha 
lation. At this sight the clergy and the people experienced 
an increase of gratitude towards the Omnipotent Worker of so 
many wonders, and of enthusiasm towards her who was their 
object. 

They understood at once, with the penetration conferred by 
Faith, the symbolic and mystic meaning of this phenomenon. 
"0 wonderful miracle," said they, "worthy of her and re 
sponsive to our prayers ! These limbs, which were worn by 
so many saintly mortifications, exhale a perfume like to that 
which would have been shed from Saint Magdalene s precious 
vase, had it been broken. Her body distils a holy and heal 
ing oil, because her life was passed in works of mercy ; and 
as oil floats over every liquid whereon it is shed, so is 
mercy above all the judgments of God. This oil flows 
principally from her feet, because they so frequently bore her 
to the cabins of the poor, and to every spot where misery 
required consolation. This dear Elizabeth, like a fair and 
fruitful olive-tree, covered with bloom and perfumed with 
virtue, has been endowed with the gifts of oil, to illumine, 
to nourish and to cure. How many suffering bodies, how 
many languishing souls has she not healed by her charity and 
the example of her sanctity ! How many thousand poor onei 
has she not supported with her own bread ! By how many 



378 

prodigies has she not illumined the Church ! It is then with 
reason that this sweet liquid, this odoriferous oil appears to 
proclaim the sanctity of her who shone with so pure a splen 
dour, who healed with so much sweetness, who fed the poor 
with so much generosity, and who through her whole life 
exhaled the rich and fragrant perfume of all virtues !" 

This precious oil was gathered with great care and zeal by 
the people, and many cures were effected by its use in serious 
maladies and dangerous wounds. So many celestial favours, 
confirmed by the supreme suffrage of the Church, and the 
honours which it had so solemnly decreed to the new Saint, 
could not but increase the number and fervour of the faithful 
who visited her tomb, either to augment their piety, or to 
seek relief in their sufferings: her glory was soon extended 
throughout the Christian world; it attracted to Marburg a 
crowd of pilgrims as great as that which all Europe con 
tributed to send annually to the tomb of St. James of Com- 
postella. 

Numerous miracles were worked in favour of the humble 
and faithful pilgrims who made so long and so weary a jour 
ney. Amongst the many related we shall transcribe but two, 
which seem to us impressed with a character peculiarly inter 
esting; and also because they tend to demonstrate how rap 
idly love for, and confidence in our dear Saint were propa 
gated and confirmed even in the most distant countries. 

It was but natural that veneration for Elizabeth should be 
speedily established in Hungary, the land of her birth, and 
that the history of her holy life and the news of her canoni 
zation should have excited the most extraordinary feelings of 
joy and admiration in that country to which she specially be 
longed. Now there was at Strigonia, in Hungary, an honest 
and pious couple, whose only child had just died. The father 
and mother were grievously afflicted by this loss. After 
having groaned and wept for a long time they retired to rest, 



OF HUNGARY. 371 

but still could not cease speaking of their little one. The mo 
ther slumbered for a while, and had H dream which inspired 
her to take at once the body of h-r dccea^-d child to tin* toinr 
of St. Elizabeth, in Germany. Having awoke, she placed 
her trust in the Lord and said to her husbund " Lot us not 
oury our little girl, but lei us tnke her with faith to Saint 
Elizabeth, whom the Lord has glorified by many miracles, in 
order that by her prayers our child s life may be restored." 
The husband yielded to the wishes of his wife. 

At an early hour next morning, when the friends were 
waiting to accompany the body to the church, in order to 
have it interred, they were amazed to see the father and 
mother laying it in a basket and setting out for the sanctuary 
of Elizabeth, heedless of the murmurs and derision by which 
they were assailed. They travelled for thirty days, weeping, 
and enduring great privation ; but, at the end of that time, 
God had pity on their faith and grief, and regarding the 
merits of His dear Elizabeth, He sent back the innocent soul 
of the child to the inanimate body which was offered to Him 
with such simple confidence, and restored the little one to life. 
Notwithstanding their excessive joy, the pious parents resolved 
upon completing their pilgrimage to the tomb of Elizabeth ; 
they brought their resuscitated child to Marburg, and after 
making their thanksgiving there, they returned to Hungary 
to enjoy their miraculous happiness. This same young girl, 
in after years, accompanied into Germany a daughter of the 
king of Hungary who was given in marriage to the Duke of 
Bararia; when she came to Ratisbon with her royal mistress, 
she there entered a Convent of Dominicans, over whom she 
became Prioress, and was still living in great sanctity when 
Theodoric wrote his history. 

At the other extremity of Europe, in England, there waa 
at this time a noble lady who had no children, and who, after 
j ring with her husband for twenty years, saw him die, to hei 



380 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

reat grief- ^ n ner widowhood and loneliness she cot off her 
hair, assumed a plain, gray dress, and sought some solace bj 
adopting twelve poor creatures as her children. These she 
lodged in her own house ; she nourished and clothed, and 
with her own hands washed and served them. Wherever she 
found poor or sick people, she gave them alms for the love of 
God and of St. Elizabeth : for she had heard of Elizabeth, 
and had learned to love her better than anything in this 
world, and more than all the other saints of God. The 
thought of this beloved one never quitted her, and by daj 
and by night she meditated on her blessed life. At the mo 
ment willed by God this noble and pious lady died. Whilst 
all were regretting her, her confessor said to those who wept, 
that her body shou!^. be brought to the tomb of St. Elizabeth, 
for that during her life she had made a vow to go there. Her 
friends agreed to this, and they crossed the sea and travelled 
through an immense tract of country. 

After seven weeks journey, they arrived with her body at 
Marburg ; when they had invoked the Saint with great fer 
vour, the body of the good lady became re-animated, and she 
was restored to life, saying : " Oh how happy am I ! I have 
reposed on the bosom of St. Elizabeth !" Her friends wished 
her to return to England, but she refused to leave the place 
sanctified by her celestial protectress; she led there for fifteen 
years a most holy life, in almost entire silence speaking, in 
fact, but to her confessor. He asked her one day why she 
had imposed on herself this perpetual silence. She replied, 
" Whilst I reposed on the bosom of Elizabeth, I experienced 
too much happiness and joy ever to occupy myself with any 
thing else but to think hew I could regain such bliss for 
eternity." 

For three centuries, surrounded by a halo of glory, and 
receiving daily homage and thanksgiving for so many bless 
ings, the body of Elizabeth remained in her magnificent 



OF HUNGARY. 381 

church in ihe custody of the Teutonic knights, who always 
wore the bavlge of the cross for the defence of the Faith. 
But her heart that most noble relic was asked for and ob 
tained by Godfrey, Bishop of Cambray ; was transported to 
his Episcopal city, and laid on an altar in his cathedral. 
Neither history nor tradition informs us of the motives that 
influenced the faithful of Germany to deprive themselves of 
this precious treasure in favour of a distant diocese. But can 
we not discover in it a mysterious dispensation of Providence, 
which permitted that this pure and tender heart should await 
at Cambray another worthy of her, by its humility, charity, 
and ardent love of God the heart of Fenelon ? 

The veneration of the dear St. Elizabeth was soon propa 
gated throughout Christendom. Whilst millions came to 
pray at her tomb, a vast number of churches were erected 
under her invocation, particularly at Treves, Strasbourg, 
Cassel, Prague, and Winchester ; convents, hospitals, asylums 
for all kinds of moral and physical suffering, took her for their 
special patroness and protectress under God. 

Her festival day was, according to the directions of the Sov 
ereign Pontiff, observed throughout all the Church, and in some 
Localities with surpassing pomp and splendour. The diocese oJ 
Uildesheim was distinguished for the solemnity with which this 
holy feast was celebrated, and for the harmony erf the chaunt 
whLh resounded in the noble cathedral built there in honoui 
of Mary, around the gigantic rose-tree of Louis the Good. 

No sooner was Innocent IV seated on the Pontifical throne, 
than he granted an indulgence of one year and forty days to 
all who should visit the tomb and church of our dear Saint 
during the last three days of Holy Week. 

Sextus IV. granted an indulgence of fifty years and fifty 
quarantines to all the faithful, who, penitent and confessed, 
should visit the churches of the order of St. Frarcis, in Saint 
Elizabeth s honour on her festival-dav. 



382 LIFE <4F ST. ELIZABETH, 

On the same day may be gained indulgences of one hundred 
days in two of the seven Basilicas of the Eternal City, Rome, 
viz. at " Santa Croce di Grerusalemine," and at " Santa Maria 
degli Angeli." 

The rich inspirations of the Liturgy, the true Christian 
poetry, were also devoted to our dear Saint. 

Proses, hymns, and numerous anthems, were composed and 
generally used in her honour. 

The religious Orders, particularly the Franciscan, Domini 
can, Cistercian, and Premonstratensian, each consecrated to 
her a special Office. 

These effusions of the faith and gratitude of generations 
contemporaries of her glory, possessed all the charms of 
simplicity, grace, and tender piety, which iistinguished the 
ancient liturgies, maiy of which are now unhappily forgotten; 
and thus were concentrated on this Elizabeth, whom we have 
seen so full of humility and contempt for self, all the brilliant 
honours, the ineffable rewards, the unrivalled glories, which 
Holy Church has created and reserved for her Saints. 

Yes, we may say it without fear Saints of God, what glory 
is "like unto yours? what human memory is cherished, pre 
served, consecrated as yours? what popularity can be com 
pared to that which you enjoy in the hearts of all Christian 
people ? 

Had you sought after human glory, the contempt for which 
is one of the noblest features in your lives, your greatest 
efforts could never attain to that which you have acquired by 
trampling it under foot I Conquerors, legislators, geniuses, 
ire forgotten, or are but honoured at occasional moments by 
the vacillating feelings of men ; most of them are disregarded 
or unknown. On the contrary, you, blessed children of the 
earth you have sanctified, of the Heaven you enjoy, are 
known and loved by all Christians ; for every Christian has 
chosen at least one from amongst you, to be his friend, Mi 



OF HUVeABT. 383 

patron, the confidant of bis heart-thoughts, the depository of 
his timid hopes, the protector of his happiness, the conoler 
of his sadness ! 

Associated with the eternal duration of the Church, yot 
are, like her, impassable and unchangeable in your glory. 
At least once, every year, the sun rises under your invocation, 
and thousands of Christians are congratulated, because they 
have the happiness to bear your name,and this blessed name 
is commemorated, chaunted, proclaimed aloud in every 
sanctuary of Faith by thousands of innocent and pure 
souls; by the voices of spotless virgins, by those of the 
heroines of divine charity, by those of Levites and priests, 
by the whole sacerdotal hierarchy, from the Sovereign 
Pontiff to the lowest recluse in his cell, who together thus 
reply to and re-echo the concerts of the angels in Heaven. 

Once again, O Saints of God ! what glory is compar 
able to your glory during time and eternity ! 



384 tIFE OF ST. ELIZAbBIB, 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

WHAT BECAME OP THE CHILDREN AND RELATIVES OP THE DEAB 
ST. ELIZABETH AFTER HER DEATH, AND OF THE GREAT BAINT8 
SPRUNG FROM HER RACE. 

W O quam pnlchra est casta generatio cum clarltate: immortalis est enfm me 
moria illius ; quonlam et apud Deum nota cat et apud homines. ... in perpetuuia 
ooronata triumphat incoinqninatorum certaminum prsemium vincens." Sap, iv. 1, 2. 

WE will doubtless be forgiven for inserting here an 
abridged account of the destinies of the children of the dear 
St. Elizabeth, as well as those of the principal personages 
who figured in the history of her blessed life. 

Following then the order in which they departed ont of 
this world, we must first notice her father, king Andrew. 
From the time he heard of his daughter s death, he fell into 
a deep melancholy, principally produced by the ideas that he 
had not sufficiently known or appreciated her virtues, and 
that he had too soon become resigned to leave her in misery 
and abjection ; but he had the consolation of seeing her sanc 
tity recognised by the Church, and proclaimed throughout 
the Christian world, and he died in a short time after her 
canonization. The Duchess Sophia, her mother-in-law, died 
in 1238, two years after having assisted at the solemn trans 
lation of the remains of her whose high destiny she had so 
long misunderstood : she was, by her own desire, interred at 
the convent of St. Catherine, at Eisenach, which her husband, 
Duke Hermann, had founded. 

The most fervent of the admirers and champions of the 
Saint, her brother-in-law, Conrad, did not long survive the 
ample reparation he made for the wrongs he had done her 



OF HUNOART. S8f 

His piety, courage, and great humility, nmde him be chosen 
as Grand Master of the Teutonic Order which he had em 
braced in the spirit of penance. He consecrated a great part 
Df his wealth to the erection of the church which bears the 
name of Elizabeth at Mai-burg, of which he had the glory of 
being the founder. It was doubtless to be enabled to watch 
over and expedite this great undertaking, or, perhaps, through 
affection for the places sanctified by his blessed sister, that h 
choso Marburg as the centre and residence of the Order oi 
which he was the head, and built there the palace called 
the Coinmandery, the ruins of which are still to be seen. 
His prolonged visits to Hesse did not hinder him from preaid- 
ing over the new development which the Teutonic knighta 
exhibited in Prussia, when the Duke of Masovia called upon 
them to succour the Christians against the Pagans. Conrad 
fought with bravery and skill ; he extended the possessions 
of his Order he obtained from the Pope the investiture of 
the province that was to be the theatre of its greatest glory. 
But before the close of his life, he was anxious to re-visit 
Rome. After arriving there he fell seriously ill. During his 
malady, he attained to such a degree of interior purity, that 
he could not, without great pain even of body, endure the 
presence of any one who was in the state of mortal sin, so 
that those who were in his service were obliged to abstain 
from all evil. He had for confessor, the venerable abbot of 
Hagen, of the Order of Citeaux. 

One day when this holy Religious came to the Landgrave s 
bedside, he perceived him absorbed in a state of ecstasy. 
When he was restored, the abbot asked him what he had seen 
hi the vision. Conrad replied : " I was before the throne of 
the eternal Judge, and my destiny was severely examined. 
Justice ordained that I should be condemned to the pains 
of purgatory for five years ; but my good sister Elizabeth 
approached the tribunal, and obtained the remission of thii 
17 



86 LIFK OF iT. KLIIAB1TH, 

ufftring. Know then that I shall die of this illness, and that 
I shall enjoy eternal glory." 

He died BOOH after, having previously given directions that 

nis body should be brought to Marburg to repose near that 

of the Saint in the church he had commenced "n her honour. 

His tomb is still to be seen there, and on it he is represented 

s piously sleeping in *he Lord, holding in his hand the dis 

ipline, as he had presented it to the people to strike him on 

the ruins of Fritzlar. 

If Conrad so completely atoned for his sins against God 
and St. Elizabeth, his brother, Henry Raspon, acted in a very 
different mariner, and his name is painfully intermingled with 
the lives of the children of the Saint. These children seem 
to us, from all the memorials which remain of them, to have 
been penetrated with gratitude to God for having deigned to 
will that they should receive being from a Saint, and also to 
have been justly proud in the sight of men of so glorious an 
origin ; in the Charters and other official documents, they 
always inscribed themselves, Son or Daughter of St. Eliza 
beth, before all their titles of sovereignty or nobility 

Two of them, the younger children, Sophia and Gertrude, 
accomplished their days in peace in the asylums she had 
chosen for them amongst the virgins consecrated to the Lord 
one at Kitzingen, the other at Aldenberg near Wetzlar. 
Each became abbess of her community. Gertrude was elected 
in 1249, and governed her monastery during forty-nine years 
She walked worthily in the footsteps of her holy mother by 
her piety and generosity to the poor ; miracles have been 
attributed to her, and she has always borne the title of the 
" Blessed." On the petition of the Emperor Louis of Bavaria 
Clement VI. granted indulgences to all who should celebrate 
her feast. Her tonib is still to be seen at Aldenberg, as well 
ae several precious relics of her blessed mother which she had 
collected there with pious care. Amongst these are a chiuv 



OF HUNGARY. S8*7 

ble, made of red velvet from a robe of St. Elizabeth ; a silver 
gilt cup, in which she served the poor in her hospital with 
drink ; her wedding ring ; and some other memorials, most 
of which are now in the castle of Braunfels and in the posses 
sion of the prince of Solms. 

The other two children of Elizabeth, her son Hermann, and 
her daughter Sophia, experienced a very different fate, and 
were, like their mother, sufferers from the injustice of men. 

Hermann, when arrived at the age of 16 years, in 1239, 
took possession of his father s dominions, which his uncle 
had governed during his minority. He soon after travelled 
to France to visit the holy King Louis IX. and was present, 
as we have already seen, at the great court held at Saumur, 
where his quality as son of St. Elizabeth attracted to him 
universal attention, and where Queen Blanche, of Castile, 
bestowed on him marks of the most tender affection. He 
espoused Helen, daughter of Duke Otho of Brunswick ; all 
seemed to promise him a brilliant and happy future, when he 
died at the age of eighteen years in 1241, at Creutzbourg, 
where he was born ; his early death is usually attributed to 
poison, administered to him by a woman named Bertha de 
Seebach, at the instigation of his unworthy uncle, Henry. 
Before breathing his last sigh, the unfortunate young man 
expressed his desire of being interred near his blessed mother; 
but Henry, who immediately resumed the reins of government, 
would not allow him even this consolation, fearing the Saint 
would restore him to life, as she had resuscitated so many 
dead persons. So he had his body conveyed to Reynharta- 
brunn, where his sepulchral mounment is still to be seen near 
that of his father. 

Henry Raspon, now sole master of and lawful heir to the 
vast possessions of the house of Thuringia, soon became the 
chief of the opposition party, which increased every day in 
Germany, and which was excited by the attacks made by tht 



388 LIFE OT ST. ELIZABETH, 

Emperor Frederic II. against the independence of the lesser 
princes and the rights of the Church. Pope Innocent IV. 
having fulminated the sentence of deposition against Frederic 
at the Council of Lyons, the Duke of Thuringia was naturally 
put forward in the ranks to supply his place. Though it was 
thought that the imperial crown was the object of his ambi 
tion, yet he always alleged unfitness for that great dignity 
The Pope exhorted him to devote himself to the welfare of 
Christianity and sent him considerable subsidies. He allowed 
himself to be elected King of the Romans in 1246, and was 
anointed in the following year. He made war with tolera 
ble success against Frederic and his son Conrad, but he did 
not long enjoy his new dignity. In 1248 death carried him 
off, and though he had been married three times, he left no 
children. The Christian people saw in the extinction of his 
race the just chastisement of his perfidy to Elizabeth, and of 
the crime imputed to him in regard to his nephew. He re 
quested that his heart should be carried to the consent of 
Dominicans which he had founded at Eisenach, in expiation of 
his misdeeds towards his sister-in-law. 

After his death Thuringia was exposed to all the horrors of 
a war of succession The male heirs of the ancient Dukes of 
Thuringia were extinct in the person of Henry ; so the posses 
sions descended to the female line. Sophia, eldest daughter 
of St. Elizabeth and Duke Louis, married, as we have seen, 
to the Duke of Brabant, presented herself to take possession 
of the inheritance of her father, in her own name and in that 
of her son Henry, surnamed the Infant from being then but 
three years old. 

She was immediately acknowledged in Hesse, which pro 
vince she governed with great wisdom and courage during 
the long minority of her son. 

But in Thuringia she found a formidable rival in the perso 
of her eousin-germaii, Henry the Illustrious, Margrave flf 



OF HUNOlRT. Iff 

Misnia, son of Guta. sister of Duke Louis and King Henry. 
This prince, profiting of the dissensions which had arisen ia 
Thuringia after the death of Henry, as well as of those by 
which the whole empire was convulsed, succeeded in obtaining 
possession of a great part of Thuringia, and above all, of the 
castle of Wartburg. There was no longer an emperor re 
cognised to do justice in the holy Roman empire since tLe de 
cline of the House of Swabia. Sophia obtained the assistance 
of a valiant and devoted prince, Albert Duke of Brunswick, 
whose daughter was affianced to the young Henry of Brabant. 
But in despite of the efforts of this ally, and of the courage 
with which Sophia always took part in his warlike expedi 
tions, the Margrave Henry retained possession of his usurped 
power. We shall not enter into the details of this fearful 
struggle, but shall confine ourselves to the narration of a few 
particulars which serve to depict Sophia s character, and to 
show how the faithful people surrounded the remembrance 
of the dear Saint s descendants with the halo of poesy in their 
traditions. Thus, it is said, that in the first conference which 
took place between Sophia and the Margrave, the latter was 
disposed to listen to his cousin ; whilst he spoke to her, his 
marshal, the Lord de Schlottheim, took him aside and said : 
" My Lord, what are you about to do ? If it were possible 
that you could have one foot in Heaven and the other in Wart 
burg, you should withdraw that which was in Heaven the 
better to retain Wartburg." Henry allowed himself to b 
influenced by this, and said to the Duchess, " Dear cousin, I 
must reflect on these matters, and consult my peers." Then 
Sophia burst into tears, and throwing her glove from off her 
right hand, she said, " enemy of all justice, I say to thee, 
Satan, that I throw thee my gauntlet, take it, and with it all 
crafty and perfidious counsellors." The glove arose in the air 
and disappeared, and yery soon after the evil counsellor fell ill 
and died. 



100 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

Later still in 1254, in another conference, Sophia despair 
ing of being able to convince her rival by reason, or of subdu 
ing him by force, sought to appeal to his sense of religion ; she 
brought with her a relic of her holy mother, and exacted that 
he should swear on this sacred memorial of her who had so 
.nuch nonoured Thuringia, that he thought her claims to the 
jountry just and well-founded. 

The noble and touching faith of the daughter in the influ 
suce of her mother s remembrance over the conscience of her 
worldly adversary was deceived. Henry swore falsely, and 
l wenty of his knights supported his oath. 

The inhabitants of Eisenach became energetic partisans of 
Sophia, as if they wished to expiate their former ingratitude to 
Elizabeth by devotion to her child. They even besieged Wart- 
burg, where the Margrave s forces were garrisoned, and erected 
two forts the better to attack the castle. But Henry surprised 
the town by night and got possession of it by treachery. He 
put to death the principal friends of the daughter and grandson 
of Elizabeth. To terrify the inhabitants, he fastened Welspeche, 
the most earnest supporter of their cause, to a war-machine, 
and had the barbarity to order that he should be thus flung 
from the summit of Wartburg into the town of Eisenach ; but 
the brave man while cleaving the air cried out, " Thuringia be 
longs by right to the Infant of Brabant." Tradition alleges 
that he suffered this punishment three times, and that he again 
and again repeated, " Thuringia belongs to the Infant of Bra 
bant," and that it was only after the third fall the patriot mar 
tyr expired. Sophia arrived soon after from Hesse and came 
to Eisenach ; she presented herself at the gate of St. George, 
which she found closed, and demanded admittance ; and as the 
inhabitants did not reply, she seized a hatchet, and struck the 
oaken gate with such violence that she left in it a cleft whici 
ws visible for two centuries after. 



OF HUNGARY. 891 

In 1265, Duke Albert of Brunswick, having been com 
pletely defeated and taken prisoner by the son of the Margrave, 
it became necessary to enter into a definite arrangement. So 
phia was obliged to renounce all her pretensions to Thnringia, 
which remained thenceforth in the possession of the House of 
Misnia ; in satisfaction, however, the sovereignty of Hesse 
was guaranteed to her son, Henry the Infant, and his pos 
terity. This division of the provinces has continued to our 
own time, and the existing families of Hesse and Saxony are 
descended from the two princes whose rights were fixed in 
this treaty. 

Sophia died in 1284, at the age of sixty years, after having 
during her life carefully maintained the prosperity of her 
country and of her family. 

She reposes at Marburg, in the same tomb with her son, 
and in the church dedicated to her holy mother. Her recum 
bent statue, wearing an expression as if engaged in prayer, 
as was the custom of Catholic ages, is still to be seen there ; 
and by her side, that son over whom she had watched with so 
much courage and maternal solicitude. The face of the statue 
is a good deal worn away by the kisses of the pilgrims, who 
transferred to her a portion of their love for her mother. 

Henry I. surnamed the Infant, sou of Sophia and grand 
son of St. Elizabeth, and first sovereign of Hesse as an iso 
lated and independant state, reigned until 1308, rich in glory 
and the affection of his people, whom he preserved from all 
rapine and invasion. He was sixty-five years old at the time 
of his death, though he i represented but as a little child 
upon the tomb shared by aim and his mother. From him 
sprung two different branches of the House of Hesse, with 
whom most of the royal families of Europe are allied, and 
share by this means in the glory of reckoning Saint Elizabeth 
amongst their ancestors 

Having given these details concerning the descendant* of 



592 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

St. Elizabeth, we may be permitted to speak of the family 
from which she sprung, in which were numbered many holy 
personages, upon whom the example of our dear Saint must 
have had considerable influence. In the maternal line, her 
aunt, St. Hedwige, Duchess of Poland and Silesia, survived 
her ; we have already seen that the pious example of t us re 
nowned princess had affected Elizabeth in her tender age, and 
we may be permitted to think that the Duchess Hedwige was 
strengthened in her fervour and austerity, by what she was 
enabled to learn of the life of her young niece, and by the 
solemn proclamation of her blessed immortality in Heaven and 
on earth. It appears as if Hedwige sought more rapidly to 
follow the youthful pilot to the happy port where both were to 
land so gloriously. At the death of Elizabeth she had been 
sent a veil worn by our Saiut ; Hedwige entertained for this 
relic the greatest veneration, and would never leave it off 
until she had breathed her last sigh, and certainly no one 
merited better this symbolic gift. 

Married at the age of twelve years to Duke Henry the 
Bearded, after having borne him six children, when still very 
young, she with her husband made a vow to live thenceforth 
us brother and sister. She resolved to found a great monas 
tery for Cistercian nuns near a place where her husband had 
fallen into a marsh, whence he was delivered by an angel. 
This monastery was called Trebnitz, because when the Duke 
inquired of the new religious, whether they were well supplied, 
they replied that they wanted not for anything in Pvlish, 
Trzeba nic. Hedwige had her daughter Gertrude appointed 
abbess of this house, whither she soon retired herself and with 
her husband s permission took the religious habit, but neither 
the vow of obedience, nor of poverty, that she might not be 
restricted in alms-giving. 

During her entire life she rivalled her holy niece by her 
kamility and extraordinary mortifications : in reading of th 



OF HUNGARY. 89S 

almost incredible austerities she inflicted on her frail body, we 
know not which to admire most, the indomitable strength of 
her will, or the succour granted by the Lord to nature when 
it strives to rise above its own abasement to ascend to Him. 
Eferywhere she sought the lowest place, being penetrated 
with the spirit that saved the Cananaan woman, when she 
begged from Jesus the crumbs that fell from the tables of the 
children of God ; thus Hedwige sought no other food than 
that left at the tables of nuns and monks whom she delighted 
to serve. But it was particularly by her charity and compas 
sion that she rivalled our dear Elizabeth. 

" She had," says a pious writer, " so tender a heart that 
she could not see any one weep without shedding tears 
in abundance, nor take repose when she knew that others en- 
lured anguish or weariness. 

" She had always poor people at her table, whom she served 
on her knees before she would sit down ; and often when un 
observed she would kiss their foot-prints, honouring in them 
Jesus Christ, who being the King of glory became poor for 
our sakes. So tenderly did she love the poor that she often 
Dought from them pieces of bread which the religious gave 
them as alms, and these she kissed and ate as if they were the 
bread of angels, and a sacred food. Amongst the poor there 
were thirteen of those who suffered most whom she selected to 
remind her of Christ and His apostles ; these she brought 
with her wherever she went ; had them well lodged and 
clothed, and always wished that they should dine before her, 
that she might serve them herself. She always sent them 
gome of the best food set befo^ her, for she was so charitable, 
that she would not eat the least thing, even if it were but a 
pear, with any satisfaction if the poor had not previously 

tasted of it." 

She would never permit her vassals and serfs to be treated 
harshly when unable to pay their farm-rents and due* : *h 
17* 



J94 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

.ncessantly visited the tribunals where the law-suits of the pool 
wrere decided, and when she found the judges inclined to treat 
them with severity, she would empower the chaplain, by whom 
ihe was always accompanied in these visits, to reverse the sen 
tences. Her husband entertained for her the utmost love and 
respect, and frequently gave proofs of how much he sympa 
thised in her compassion for the poor ; for instance, through 
affection for her, he ordered that whenever Hedwige passed the 
public prisons, the gates should be thrown open, and all the 
captives set at liberty. 

All her exercises of piety were marked by extreme fervour ; 
every day she heard as many masses as there were priests to 
offer them, and each time she shed an abundance of tears. She 
was pre-eminently devoted to the holy Virgin, and always re 
tained a little picture of that benign mother, to which in her 
simplicity she spoke, which she carried with her when visiting 
the sick, who frequently recovered when she had, when using 
it, given them her blessing. Her husband having been wound 
ed and taken prisoner by Duke Conrad, his rival, she went 
alone and on foot to seek this prince, who was then glowing 
and exulting in his victory : when he perceived her he thought 
it was an angel, and without the least resistance, he agreed to 
terms of peace, and gave her husband freedom. 

In a short time she lost this beloved spouse, and soon after 
her son Henry, on whom she had lavished the most intense af 
fection, and who was killed when fighting for the defence of 
Faith and European independence, against the Tartar hordes. 
She endured these afflictions with holy resignation to God s di 
vine will. But her own death speedily ensued. On the feast 
of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin, in the year 1243, the nun 
in attendance on her, saw a number of fair young maidens, sur- 
ronnded with supernatural light, approaching Hedwige, who 
mid to them with ineffable joy: "Welcome, dear Saint*, ana 



Of HUNGARY. )9| 

good friends, Magdalene, Catherine, Thecla, Ursula, and all von 
who have come to me." Then they spoke in Latin, but the lay 
lister did not understand what they said. On the 15th of Oc 
tober following, she breathed her last sigh in blessing God. 

Numerous miracles having attested her sanctity, she WAI 
canonized by Pope Clement IV. in 1267. When the solemn 
translation of her relics took place in the following year, the 
officiants found her hand clasped on the little image of the 
Blessed Virgin which she had so dearly loved. 

Whilst St. Hedwige shed such brilliant lustre on the ma 
ternal line of Elizabeth, the example of our dear Saint produced 
effects, if not more precious, at least more numerous, on the 
members of her father s family, in the illustrious house of Hun 
gary, which alone, of all the royal races of Europe, reckoned 
already three canonized Saints amongst its kings, St. Stephen, 
St. Emeric, and St. Ladislaus. 

Bela IV., brother of our dear Elizabeth, and successor to hii 
father, showed himself worthy of being the brother of such a 
sister, and the father of two other saints, by the piety, courage, 
and resignation he manifested during a reign of thirty-five years, 
almost all of which was a struggle against the victorious Tartars. 
Induced by the example of his sister he joined the Third Order of 
St. Francis, and ordered that he should be interred in the church 
which the Franciscans had erected at Strigonia, under the invoca 
tion of St. Elizabeth, notwithstanding the opposition of those who 
untreated him not to abandon the ancient burial-place of the kings. 
The second brother of our Saint, Coloman, seems to have 
^een still more charmed by the odour of perfection, which 
was, as it were, exhaled by the holy life of his sister. Having 
spoused a Polish princess of surpassing beauty, Salome, 
daughter of the duke of Cracovia, who had been affianced 
and brought up with him from the age of three years, ht 
made with her, on their marriage day a vow of perpetual 



396 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

Chastity, which they preserved with the utmost fidelity 
Elected king of Gallicia, he defended that part cf Poland 
against the Tartars, and died gloriously combatting against 
them, for his country and his God. His widow founded a 
convent of Franciscan Friars, and another of Poor Clang, in 
the latter of which she took the veil, where she exercised the 
most heroic virtues, and was honoured by the most particular 
favours of the divine mercy. 

On the day of her death in 1268, the attendants heard in 
the air a sweet chorus of harmonious voices chaunting these 
words : Fronduit, floruit virgula Aaron. A nun remarking 
that her countenance wore a most joyful expression, and that 
she smiled frequently, said to her, " Madam, do you see 
anything so pleasing as to make you smile in the midst of 
suffering?" " Oh yes," replied the blessed one, "I see our 
Lady, the Blessed Virgin, mother of our Lord, which affords 
me the greatest happiness." At the moment that she breathed 
her last sigh, the attendants saw, as it were, a little star 
coming from her lips and ascending towards Heaven. 

But the daughters of Bela IV. and consequently nieces of 
Elizabeth, so closely related by their sex to her who was the 
honour of their family, strove also to imitate her by the auster 
ity and sanctity of their lives. 

One of them, known to the Church under the name of thd 
Blessed Margaret of Hungary, was incessantly occupied in 
considering the example left her by her glorious aunt, an 1 hei 
whole life showed how much she profited by it. Devoted to 
the Lord, even before her birth, by her mother Mary, daughter 
of the emperor of Constantinople, as a propitiatory offering to 
obtain from Heaven some alleviation of the miseries inflicted 
by the Tartars on the Hungarians, her birth was signalized 
by a brilliant victory over the infidels, as if God had thus 
wished to testify His acceptance of the sacrifice. Her pious 
parents, faithful to their promise, sent her at the age of 



OF HUNGARY. 

three years and a half to a convent of Dominicans. Gifted 
with a vast intelligence and a soul most ardent, she took the 
yeil at the age of twelve years, though her angelic beauty and 
royal birth caused her to be sought after in marriage by se 
veral powerful princes ; she remained, however, in her convent 
for the rest of her life, which was for about twenty-four years. 
This time, apparently so short, was entirely employed by her 
in works of charity, of fervent piety, of extreme austerity, in 
a word, of all that could develop, in her heart, and even in 
her exterior, the pure love of God. Mary and the cross were 
the means by which she aspired to this love and towards Him 
who was its object. She could never mention the name of 
the holy Virgin without adding, Mother of God and my hope 
At the age of four years she, for the first time, saw a cross, 
whereupon bhe asked the nuns, " What is this tree ?" " It 
was upon such a one," they replied, "that the Son of God 
shed His blood for our salvation and that of the world." At 
these words the child ran towards the Crucifix and kissed it 
with ardour. From that time forward she never saw a cross 
without kneeling to venerate it, and when lying down to sleep 
she used to place a crucifix on her eyelids, that it might be 
the first object on which her sight would rest when awaking. 
God granted to her the gift of miracles and of prophecy, 
and the grace to reign over the hearts of her people, without 
ever leaving her convent; she attended to the sick and poor 
who came to seek her, with so much grace, with a manner so 
charmingly kind, that for a long time after her death, when 
anything was awkwardly or disagreeably done, the Hungarian 
people used to say, as a kind of proverb, * It is easily seen that 
this was not done after the manner of sister Margaret" She 
was but twenty-eight years old when God called her from her 
family, her country, and the Order which was so justly proud 
of her, to take her place by the iide of the glorioua Eliiabetk 
in Heaven. 



898 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

Her sister Cunegunda, or Kingea, married in 1239 to 
Boleslaus the Bashful, Duke of Poland, engaged her husband 
to make with her a solemn vow of chastity, which they ob- 
erved during forty years of married life. When she became a 
widow in 1279, at the same time with her sister Yolande, 
who was married also to a Boleslaus, Duke of Kalitz in Po 
land, both resolved to take the veil, and to that effect, entered 
as did their aunt Salome, into the Order of Poor Clares, which 
appears to have offered such irresistible attractions to the prin 
cesses of that age. Cunegunda died in 1292, after having 
given an example of the greatest austerity, and having re 
ceived from Heaven the gift of miracles. She has always 
been regarded in Poland as a Saint and the Patroness of the 
country. Her tomb has been an object of the veneration of 
all the Sclavonian races. Many pilgrimages were made to it, 
and Monday in each week specially consecrated to her honour. 
The prayer used by the pious pilgrims has been preserved. 
They invoked the blessed Cunegunda at the same time with 
the glorious Virgin Mary and St. Clare. More than three 
centuries after her death the devotion towards her was so far 
from having declined or chilled, that Sigismuud, king of Poland 
in 1628, addressed a most urgent letter to Pope Urban VIII. 
to obtain the official canonization of her whom the Poles had 
for so long a time proclaimed as their tutelary Saint. In 
1690, Alexander VIII. approved of the public veneration 
paid to her, and later still, Clement IX. recognised her 
solemnly as Patroness of Poland and Lithuania. 

It seemed as if the House of Hungary had been in a man 
ner destined to rear up for Heaven saintly princesses of this 
blessed race, married, as was our Elizabeth, to the Sovereigns 
of distant countries, and some of whom, if they themselves 
did not shine with special glory, were at least worthy of being 
the mothers of Saints. 

Thus Yolande, sister of Elizabeth, was married to the king 



OP HUNGARY. Jill 

,>f Arragon, James the Conqueror, and was grandmother to St 
Elizabeth of Portugal ; and Constance, sister of King Andrew 
was mother of that Agnes of Bohemia, whose magnificent eu- 
logiurn by the Sovereign Pontiff we have already read. After 
having refused the hand of the King of England, the King of 
the Romans, and the Emperor Frederic II., even at the risk of 
exposing her country to the scourge of war, after navmg 
passed forty -six years in her monastery, cinctured with the 
cord of St. Francis, and after having walked barefooted in the 
paths of St. Clare and St. Elizabeth, in the most exemplary 
practice of humility, of poverty, and of charity, Agnes died in 
1283, and has ever since been venerated in Bohemia and 
Germany as a Saint, even though the Holy See did not 
accede to the petition made for her canonization by the Em 
peror Charles IV., whose life was twice saved by her invoca 
tion. 

As to St. Elizabeth of Portugal, it would take a volume to 
relate the many most interesting and moving anecdotes of her 
glorious life ; and we can dedicate to it but a few pages. Born 
in 1271, of Peter king of Arragon and Constance of Sicily, 
Khe seemed as if predestined for heavenly glory by the name 
which was given her, for contrary to the then existing custom 
in Spain of calling princesses after their mothers or grand 
mothers, she was named Elizabeth after the dear Saint who was 
her father s maternal aunt. She was married at the age of 
fifteen years, to Denis, king of Portugal ; but far from finding 
as did her holy patroness a spouse worthy of her, she was for 
a long time afflicted by his bad treatment and grieved by his 
infidelity. 

Yet this made her but more earnest in fulfilling her duties 
as a wife ; she sought to retorm the king by increased affectioo 
and unalterable patience. 

When her ladies reproached her with treating his faults too 
bnientl/, she would reply : " If the king iins, am I to low 



<00 LIFE OP ST. ELIZABETH, 

patience, and thus add my transgressions to his ? I love better 
to confide my sorrows to God and His holy Saints, and to 
strive to win back my husband by gentleness." She carried 
indulgence and resignation to such a degree, as even to smile 
opon the king s mistresses, and to bring up his natural ( hil- 
dren with her own, with great solicitude for their present and 
future welfare. 

The eldest of the king s legitimate children, indignant at 
Uis father s conduct, revolted against him. Denis persisted 
in accusing Elizabeth of being an accomplice in this proceed 
ing ; he deprived her of her dower and all her wealth, and 
confined her in a fortress. No sooner was she delivered from 
this unjust captivity, than she directed all her energies to effect 
a reconciliation between her husband and her son ; finding 
her efforts useless, she selected the moment when the army of 
the king and that of the Infant were ranged in battle array, 
and just about to engage in the strife, to mount her horsey 
and to ride alone between the two lines, amid a shower of 
arrows ; she entreated the combatants to suspend hostilities. 
The soldiers, less inexorable than their masters, were affected 
by so much devotion ; they laid down their arms, and thug 
forced the father and son to make terms of peace. Some tune 
after she restored union between two of her sons who were 
engaged in a sanguinary war ; then between her brother, the 
king of Arragon, and her son-in-law, the king of Castile, for at 
khe solicitation of the Spanish people she became mediatrix 
between their sovereigns. Thus she merited the noble title 
decreed to her by the universal Church, " Mother of peace 
and of the country. Elisabeth pads et patriot, mater" 

Her husband having fallen dangerously ill, she tended him 
with the most affectionate care and received his last sigh. 
Immediately after she assumed the habit of the Third Order 
of St. Francis, which for many years she had kept enclosed 
in a casket, and which from the first day of her widowhood 



OF HUNGARY. 401 

k*cme her onl} costume. She made a pilgrimage to Com- 
postclla for the eternal repose of the soul of her husband, and 
offered for that intention the crown of precious stones which 
she had worn on her wedding-day. 

She passed the remainder of her life in the practice of all 
yirtues, rivalling her holy Patroness in charity, austerity, and 
is th> faithful observance of all the ceremonies of the Church. 
She loved to listen to the solemn offices and the ecclesiastical 
chaunt. and every day assisted at two Masses with music. 
A year before her death she wished to revisit the shrine of 
St. James of Compostella, but on foot, disguised as a peasant, 
and begging her bread as she went along, that she might not 
be recognised by the people, nor exposed to their veneration. 
In 1336, her sou, the king of Portugal, having declared war 
against her son-in-law, the king of Castile, she resolved, des 
pite of her great age, to employ her remaining strength in 
walking for seven days to effect a reconciliation between them 
She achieved this last victory, but the fatigue of the journey, 
thus accomplished during the great heat of summer, brought 
her to the verge of the tomb. " Behold," said she on the eve 
of her death, " behold the blessed Virgin in her snow-white 
robe, who comes to announce my happiness." 

She died on the 8th of July. Three centuries after her 
demise she was canonized by Pope Urban VIII. with great 
solemnity, and that holy Pontiff composed in her honour one 
of the most beautiful offices in the Roman liturgy. Thus was 
twire bles^d and consecrated in Heaven and on earth this 
dear oime of Elizabeth which we have so ofter. repeated, 
but which we have written e^ch time wm &* A nd sweet 
motor 



10*2 IFE OF ST. ELIZABETH. 



CHAPTER XXXIY 

If TMB VOBLK CHURCH THAT WAS ERECTED AT MARBUBG IN 

OT THE DEAR ST. ELIZABETH ; AND HOW HER PRECIOUS RELICS WUtl 
PBOFANED } AND ALSO THE CONCLUSION OF THIS HISTORY. 

Ave gemma speciosa 

Mulierum sidus, rosa, 
Ex regali stirpe nata 
Nunc in ccelis coronata 
Salve rosa pietatia, 
Salve flos Hungarise, 
Salve fulgens rnargarita, 
In ccelesti sede sita ; 
Roga regem Majestatis 
Ut nos salvet bodie 
Lumen mittens caritatis 
Ao oceiestis gratite. 

Ancfcnt Qfflce of St. Eltea1>*\. 

IN the bosom of a valley watered by the silvery Lahn, one 
eminence stands detached from the surrounding heights. The 
ancient Gothic castle of Marburg erected by the grandson of 
Elizabeth crowns its summit ; the houses and gardens of the 
ity and the University are grouped, terrace-like, around its 
sides and at its foot ; the two tapering towers and the high 
*oof of the church of St. Elizabeth arise between it and tie 
sanks of the river, which here winds around as if to encircle 
e city. Outside the gates green meadows, charming gar 
dens, long and beautiful avenues, attract the attention or the 
traveller, and induce him to seek the shade of the venerable 
trees that cover the surrounding hills, whence he may enjoy 
at his leisure the rare beauty of the landscape. 

We know not if it be our affection for all that was sancti 
fied by the memory of Elizabeth that influences us, but it seemi 



OF HINGART. 40f 

lo ui that out ot Italy we have never seen a site more pictu 
lesque, more attractive, more in accordance with the tradition! 
attached to it. 

Wheresoever we turn in the neighbourhood of Marburg we 
we find the same beauties under aspects infinitely varied. 

The Lahn flowing on, calm and pure, between its verdant 
banks, the admirable proportions of the Cathedral, its majestic 
elevation over all that surrounds it, the graceful and pictureiike 
arrangement of the old-fashioned houses, with the towers of the 
ancient castle, all tend to fix the attention ; we imagine we see 
realized some of the exquisite scenery which the illuminations 
of old missals and the paintings of the ancient Catholic Schools 
still depict to us in the background of the views which they 
represent. 

It seems to us, then, almost impossible not to love and ad 
mire the noble city of Marburg, even when visiting it without 
any i lea of the treasures it contains, but how much more when 
we seek there the traces of the dear St. Elizabeth ; when we find 
memorials of her on every side ; when we learn that her name 
is enshrined in every heart, on every lip, and connected with 
every monument. There still remain some portions of the con 
vent and the hospital founded by her ; these buildings, now so 
dilapidated, were for a long time the residence of the Commander 
of the Teutonic Order in Hesse ; they are situated between the 
church and the river, and present an antique, picturesque ap 
pearance. Amongst them, one is most remarkable from its point 
ed gables ; it is called the Firmaney (Infirmary), and tradition, 
supported by the opinions of several historians, points this out ai 
the p.ace where Elizabeth died. The city gate nearest the church 
is called St. Elizabeth s gate ; at a little distance outside it, on 
the road leading to Wehrda, the passenger perceives a fountain 
with a triple jet, which is named Elisabethsbruw. It WM 
there she was accustomed to wash the garments of the poor 



104 LIJE 1)JF IT. ELIZABETH 

a large blue stone on which she used to kneel when engaged 
in this laborious occupation was removed to the Church, and 
is still to be seen there. Further on he arrives at Elizabeth?* 
bridge, at a little distance from it he sees Elizabeth s mill, 
buildings which were erected, most probably, during the life 
time of the Saint. At the other side of the city, the path 
way of the road from Cassel crosses a bridge, passes the hill 
whereon the castle was built, and winding under the shady 
groves of the botanic garden, leads to the front of the church ; 
this path is still called the pilgrim s stone, (Pilgriinstein.) It 
is a memorial of the long files of pilgrims who, during three 
centuries used to come from all parts of Germany, and even 
from the most distant lands of Christendom, to visit the holy 
shrine ; and whose confluence there contributed so much to 
the prosperity of Marburg, which was, before that time, but 
an uuwalled town. 

Even the severe Conrad has here his place in the popular 
memory ; a fountain called Mcenchsbrunn, is surmounted bj 
his statue draped in a monk s habit, with a large open book 
resting on his heart ; the people say that each night at twelve 
o clock he turns a page of this volume. 

But it is time to speak of the celebrated church which is 
here, the great monument of Elizabeth s glory. It is erected, 
as we have already said, upon the banks of the Lahn, at the 
foot of the mountain whereon stands the castle, and in front 
of a rocky eminence which serves to connect this kind of prom 
ontory with the neighbouring hills. The ground about it is 
marshy, and oust have presented immense difficulties to the 
architect ; but it would be impossible to point out a better 
site, or one more calculated to display the beauties of the 
edifice, or m which the building could tend more tc embellish 
the appearance of the city and surrounding scenery. The 
traveller should walk in the neighbourhood, and successively 
tudy the different points of view, to appreciate hew much tht 



OF HUHOART 40* 

situation contributes to the exquisite appearance of its no 
ble monument; and the result of his examination would 
be the thought that it would be almost impossible to discover 
a more appropriate site. This discrimination in choosing a 
suitable foundation was a distinctive feature in the erection 
of all the gorgeous piles left us by our Catholic forefathers. 
The beauty of the church and the extraordinary advantages 
of its position have given rise to many popular traditions 
respecting its origin ; according to these it was Elizabeth 
who first entertained the idea of erecting a church ; she 
wished that it should be built on the height of a rock, still 
called Kirchspitze, which overtops the actual edifice; she 
wished also to erect there a gigaiuic tower, with a bell that 
might be heard in Hungary. But all her efforts were vain; 
the ground was examined in different directions, but it waa 
found impossible even to lay the foundations, and the old story 
says, that the work performed during the day was destroyed 
every night. At length, one day, she lifted a stone, almost 
impatiently, and threw it from the rock, declaring at the same 
time, that wherever that should fall she would erect the 
church. The stone rested on the spot where the magnificent 
building is to be seen at this day ; her labourers commenced 
immediately and their work proceeded prosperously. This 
tradition receives some confirmation from the marshy nature 
of the soil in which the foundations were laid, which would 
have been quite sufficient to deter any one from building 
there without being actuated by some supernatural motive. 

The people also relate that during the long period occupied 
in erecting this vast edifice, the funds contributed to defray 
all the expenses for the building were kept in an unlocked 
chest, from which every man could take what was justly due 
to him ; and if cupidity induced any one to commit fraud by 
taking more than his right, the money would vanish from him 
and return to the coffer. An expressive symbol of the feelingi 



406 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

of faith and disinterestedness, which the modem generation! 
seem to have lost, and with them the power of rivalling these 
wonders of Christian architecture. 

Let us now approach the church, through a garden ol 
roses flowers which here, as well as at Wartburg, seem 
specially consecrated to Elizabeth. Let us first mention that 
the foundation stone of the noble pile was laid by the good 
Landgrave Conrad on the vigil of the Assumption in the year 
1235, some months after the canonization of the Saint, and 
that this date makes the church of Saint Elizabeth the first 
that was erected in Germany entirely in the purely point 
ed style. It required twenty years to lay the foundations, 
and twenty-eight more to build the essential parts, which 
were not finished until 1283. The interior, the spires, 
and the magnificent whole, which we admire at the present 
day, were not completed until during the fourteenth century. 
The church is 230 feet long, 83 wide ; the foundations are 
40 feet in depth ; the height of the interior vaulted roof is 
70 feet, and that of the two towers with their spires 303 
feet. 

What particularly strikes the eye on entering this build 
ing is the admirable harmony of all its parts, as well interiorly 
as exteriorly ; in this respect it is unrivalled. Though a cen 
tury and a half elapsed before it was completed, one might 
imagine that it sprung in a single day from the mould of the 
holy and rigorous mind that conceived it. It is the monu 
ment, not alone the most ancient, but also the most pure and 
perfect of pointed architecture in Germany, and we think that 
throughout Europe there is not another edifice so utterly 
free from the influence of new styles foreign to its spirit, ai 
well as from all admixture of the forms that preceded or fol 
lowed it. 

We find here no trace of the arch called Roman or Byzan 
tine, except in a little lateral door of the nave, and it is then 



Ol AUMiABT 4.- . 

ut the Affect of a superabundance of flower-shaped ornaments, 
which have in a very slight degree altered the character of the 
beautiful, simply-pointed arch. 

From this rare and wonderful unity in the excellent pro 
portions of the edifice there results an admirable whole, which 
tends to create emotions of piety and interior recollection, 
from which even the souls of men who are too frequently uttei 
strangers to the religious inspirations of art, can with difficult) 
escape. 

When straying under these arches, at once so light aud 
simple, yet so solid, in the silence and desolation which per 
vades the vast enclosure, when tasting, as it were, the calm 
and freshness which reigns throughout it, we can almost im 
agine that we are breathing the same atmosphere with Eliza 
beth ; and we can well recognise in this monument erected to 
commemorate her glory, the most faithful representation of 
her personal character. The incidents of her holy life seem 
all reflected in it. We find there, as in herself, something 
humble, yet at the same time aspiring something at once 
graceful and austere, which charms us, whilst it also excites 
some feelings of awe. The stones, all consecrated and marked 
with the pontifical cross, resemble so many acts of her life all 
elevated to God in Heaven, whilst she strove to detach her 
heart from everything that could enchain it to the earth. All 
in this holy place tends to inspire fervour and a love of sim 
plicity, the marked features of Elizabeth s character. Indeed 
we feel almost tempted to believe with the people, despite of 
the testimony of historic dates, that to her we may attribute 
the idea, the plan, and even the erection of this glorious edi 
fice ; and more particularly, when there exists not the record 
of the name of any architect, mason, or workman of any kind 
whatsoever, who was engaged during a period of more than 
fifty years, on this immense undertaking. They seem to have 
taken the same pains to hide themselves from tie praise of 



108 LITE OF 8T, ELIZABETH, 

posterity, that vain men do to render their insignificant worki 
eternal. 

How sublimely nameless ! they sought but to merge their 
glory in that of the dear Saint, the beloved of Christ and of the 
poor ; and when their laborious task was completed, they died 
as they had lived, unknowing, unknown ; in the simplicity of 
their hearts forgetting all but God and Elizabeth, and unre 
membered by all save Him and her. 

Wnen seeking their names, and finding OUT researchei 
useless, we become aware that higher feelings than those de 
rivable from the success of material efforts, or from the genius 
of cultivated minds governed by purely human motives, anima 
ted the builders of these houses of God, (truly worthy of that 
name,) which were erected before the miserable degradation 
of ecclesiastical architecture, during and since the 16th cen 
tury. We discover the unspeakable effects of the mysterious 
and superior life, produced in these fruits of the ancient power 
of our faith, and we find ourselves repeating the words of 
Saint Augustine : " No one could enter here if these beams 
and these stones did not adhere to each other in a certaic 
order if they were not cemented by a pacific cohesion if, 
BO to speak, they did not love each other." 

If we might define in a few words what appears to us to 
be the distinctive character of this church of Saint Elizabeth, 
we would say that it is a virginal simplicity and purity. The 
.rue Christian architecture is to be seen there in all its primi 
tive beauty, in all its youthful grace, newly blooming in lii* 
sunlight of faith. In comparing it with the gorgeous ane 
aiore recently built Cathedrals of Strasbourg, Cologne, Amieus ; 
Salisbury, <fcc., with all these varied types of the immortai 
*pouse of Christ, we imagine a difference, such as that which 
exists between the modest garments of a gentle maiden, who 
for the first time approaches the holv table, and the brillianf 
reature of a beauteous bride. 



OF HUNGARY. 40f 

We must be excused for inserting a few particulars respect 
ing this church. The exterior, which has the advantage of 
being totally separated from all other buildings, offers to us .he 
peculiarity of two ranges of windows, one above the other, 
whilst the height of the lateral walls of the interior is not de 
tracted from by any gallery or division. These windows are 
imply two points united, surmounted by a circle, and enclosed 
in a greater ogive ; an arrangement which exactly reminds the 
traveller of the semicircular arched windows of the Cathedral? 
of Pisa and Sienna, of Or-San-Michele, and the Palazzo Strozzi, 
and those of most of the edifices of the middle ages in Italy. 
We find feere neither pinnacles nor abutments, nor any of the 
ornaments of the later Gothic styles. The principal or western 
front is of the most exquisite simplicity ; it is composed of 9 
spacious portal, surmounted by a large window and a triangu 
lar gable, flanked by two towers with their lofty spires of ad 
mirably pure style and symmetrical form. 

The niche over the portal is occupied by a beautiful statue 
of the Blessed Virgin, the special Protectress of the Teutonic 
Order. She is represented as crushing under foot the vices 
and sins under the forms of little monsters ; from her feet, at 
the right side, proceeds a vine laden with an abundance of 
grapes, and at the left, a rose-tree covered with blossoms, 
wherein are little birds ; on either side a kneeling angel vener 
ates this Queen, victorious over sin, and the unfailing source of 
the fruits of truth and the flowers of beauty. The execution 
equals the touching grace and mystic meaning of this figure. 
The foliage of the capitals, and the tracery wreathing the arch 
of this portal, are exquisitely delicate. The two towers con 
tain seven bells, the smallest of which is silver, and these form 
the most harmonious chimes. 

On entering the church we are surprised to find it divided 
into a nave and aisles of equal height. This peculiarity, 
II 



410 



LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 



which is rarely discernible in the vast basilicas of the middli 
ages, appears to have been a distinctive feature of the churchei 
of the Teutonic Order, and to have been introduced into all 
their foundations in Prussia. 

We are also pleased to find here the natural colour of the 
stone, which no vile plaster has ever tarnished, either within 
the building or on its exterior. 

We everywhere perceive the joining of the cut stone ; we 
admire the marvellous union of solidity and lightness which 
permitted the architect to leave the lateral walls, in some 
places of two feet, in others of eighteen inches only, in thick 
ness. A double row of columns marks the division of the 
three parts each is simply composed of four colonettes. 
Their capitals are carved wreaths of vine, ivy, roses, and 
trefoils, and these are the only ornaments the sculptor has 
admitted. A little wooden statue, representing the dear Saint 
holding the model of a church in her hands, rests against one 
of the pillars in the nave. 

The church is, as it ought to be, in the form of a cross ; the 
choir and the transept, or the two arms of the cross, are termi 
nated by polygonal niches. The choir is closed by a tribune 
in wood-work, with statuettes of great beauty. The principal 
altar, consecrated on the 1st of May, 1290, is perfectly in keep 
ing with the rest of the building, and is surmounted by a Coro 
nation of the Blessed Virgin in relievo. 

The windows of the choir are nlled with superb stained 
glass not representing, as would be the case in a church of 
later construction, historic scenes, or holy personages but 
simply flowers and foliage, which, in the judgment of some 
persons, are the most suitable subjects for painted glass. The 
remainder of the stained windows were destroyed by the army 
of his most Christian majesty Louis XV., who, in the seven 
years war, converted this church into a store for forage. 
On the four deserted altars in A he transept, we remark 



OF HUNGARY. 411 

lubjects in painting and sculpture, representing the principal 
events of the Saint s life, as well as the legends of St John 
the Baptist, and St. George, parts of which are attributed to 
Albert Durer, but which are, in our opinion, the work of some 
artist previous to his time, and of a taste more purely religious 
than his was. These are gilt in alto-relievo, and covered by 
screens of wood painted on both sides with simple but most 
impressive subjects, some of which, however, have been too fre 
quently retouched. We discover amongst them the miracle 
of the mantle given by Elizabeth to the beggarman when she 
was going to the banquet hall ; the miracle of the leper laid 
on her husband s bed ; the last embrace of Elizabeth and 
Louis when he was departing for the Crusade ; her expulsion 
from Wartburg ; her fall in the muddy stream at Eisenach ; 
the visit of Count Banfi ; her taking of the religious habit ; 
Ac. The relievi represent her death, her obsequies, and the 
translation of her relics in the presence of the Emperor. 
These three are evidently the work of an artist worthy of 
such subjects. 

In the southern arm of the cross, we perceive the tombs 
of the princes of the houses of Thuringia and Hesse, who had 
sought the honour of being interred near their illustrious 
ancestress. " In this palace of the Supreme King," says an 
historian, " Elizabeth, His royal spouse, was the first buried ; 
and afterwards there were admitted there several other fellow- 
citizens of the Saints, and faithful servants of God, destined 
to rise with her from their tombs at the last day, to rejoice 
with her in eternal glory." Her director, Conrad of Mar 
burg ; Adelaide, daughter of Count Albert of Brunswick, 
a very holy woman and renowned even for miracles ; Brother 
Gerard provincial of the Franciscans, who had led a remark 
ably austere life, here also reposed near Elizabeth. There 
now remains no trace of their burial places, but we find in 
great preservation the beautiful monuments of the good Land- 



4 LIFE OF ST. 

grave Conrad, brother-in-law of the Saint, with his discipline 
in his hand ; that of the Duchess Sophia, daughter of Eliza 
beth, the face of which is almost worn away from the kissei 
of the pilgrims ; and the tombs of fifteen other princes and 
princesses of Hesse from the 13th to the 16th centuries and 
amongst them we cannot but admire that of the Landgrave 
Henry III., styled the Bully, who died in 13 76, whose statue 
is sculptured upon the same stone with the truly beautiful one 
of his wife Elizabeth ; three little angels sustain and smooth 
the pillow on which their heads repose, while monks and nuns, 
kneelii g at their feet, read prayers for their souls weal. 

In one of the angles at the other extremity of the Crces 
towards the north, is the Chapel where the relics of the 
blessed Saint herself were deposited ; this chapel forms a kind 
of long square portico with four arches, two of which rest 
against the wall of the niche, and the other two are exposed. 
The interior vaulting of the beautiful roof is pointed, but the 
summit of the entire square is flat and terminated by a high 
balustrade, and from this, the relics were, doubtless, exposed 
to the people, or else it served as a place for the musicians on 
great festivals. Clustering foliage, sculptured and gilt on an 
azure ground, wreathes around the rising of the arches, con 
ceals the sharpness of the angles, and thus contrasts with the 
plainness of the other portions of the church. In a space be 
tween the arches and the square there may be seen a fresco 
representing the coronation of Elizabeth in Heaven ; it is 
partly effaced, and of the inscription it is now impossible to 
decipher more than the words : GLORIA THEUTONIE. On the 
lateral base of the chapel is a bas-relief which merits particu 
lar attention, as well for its antiquity, for it is probably the 
work of an artist coeval with our Saint, as for the char 
acter of exquisite simplicity by which it is distinguished. 
Elizabeth is represented as dead, and laid in her coffin, with 
her hands gently crossed apon her bosctn. Our Lord, with 



OF HUNGARY. 413 

the holy Virgin by his side, is standing near the bier ; the 
soul of Elizabeth under the form of a child, newly born, but 
already crowned with glory, is presented by her guardian 
angel to Christ, who lifts His hand to bless her ; another 
ingel scatters incense around ; our Lady looks lovingly on her 
docile and humble pupil ; by her side is a bearded man, with 
u lauce in hand, and wearing the badge of a Crusader, repre 
senting either the good Duke Louis, or the penitent Conrad 
At the right stands St. John the Evangelist, special friend 
and patron of the Saint ; St. Catherine, and St. Peter with 
the keys of Paradise. On the left, St. John the Baptist, St 
Mary Magdalene, and a Bishop, supposed to be Sigefrid of 
Mayence. It was before this bas-relief that the Pilgrims used 
to kneel, and the stone is still to be seen, hollowed and worn 
from their knees. 

The shrine in which the relics of the Saint were preserved 
was placed above this bas-relief, and protected by a grating, 
which still exists. It is now removed to the sacristy, which is 
between the choir and the northern transept. The shrine is 
one of the most wonderful productions of the goldsmith s skill 
in the middle ages. We know not the name of its maker, any 
more than that of the architect of the church. It is in the 
form of a Gothic house, with a double-gabled roof, a parallel 
ogram, six feet long, two feet wide, and three feet and a half 
high. It is of oak wood, covered with silver gilt ; the two 
e-arrow sides form portals, under one of which is a statue cf 
the Blessed Virgin, crowned with a diadem of precious stones, 
and holding the infant Jesus ; under the other is the figure 
of St. Elizabeth, wearing the religious habit. On one of the 
long sides, Jesus Christ is represented, seated and teaching, 
with three of his apostles at his right hand and three at hii 
left. On the other, Our Lord is seen upon the cross, which 
U in the form o* a tree, with its branches. St. John and St. 
Magdalene are at His feet, and two angels crown His bend 



414 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

mg head. On the right and left are the other six apostle* 
AH these figures are surmounted by richly-carved canopies, 
On the inclined planes of the roof are eight bassi-relievi, rep 
resenting as many scenes in the life of the Saint : the fare 
well between her and her husband, when he set out for the 
Crusade the unexpected discovery of the cross in his alms- 
purse the gift of the ring their last kiss. These sculptures 
and bassi-relievi are of excellent workmanship, arid are wrought 
in massive silver gilt. An immense quantity of onyxes, sap 
phires, emeralds, engraved stones, pearls, and other precious 
ornaments of great value, were incrusted in the shrine and 
in the drapery of the statues. The greater number were 
antiques, and added considerably to the almost inestimable 
value of a monument, to which the piety and affection of the 
people for Elizabeth had contributed so many treasures. A 
great many engraved gems were brought from the East by 
pilgrims and crusaders ; some of these were regarded as spon 
taneous productions of nature. In the middle ages, innumer 
able supernatural qualities were attributed to precious stones ; 
they were at once the ornaments most significative and suita 
ble for the tomb of a saint. There was there an onyx so 
beautiful, that, according to a very popular tradition, an 
Elector of Mayence had offered as its price the whole town 
ship of Amo3ueburg. Notwithstanding the wars and changes 
of religion, there remained eight hundred and twenty-four 
gems, without including pearls, when in 1810 they were 
counted before the removal ordered by the Franco-Westpha- 
liar government, under which the shrine was brought to Gas- 
ael, where the most valuable were removed, to the number of 
one hundred and seventeen. This shrine, in its form and 
beauty, resembles that famous one of St. Sebald at Nurnberg, 
ornamented with the figures of the twelve Apostles, by Peter 
Fischer ; but it has the advantage of being two centuriei 



OF HUNGARY. 414 

older, and we know not if there be elsewhere so wonderful a 
work of Christian art of so remote a period. 

The relics of the Saint reposed in the shrine which the aith 
and love of the Christian people had endeavoured to render 
worthy of her, until the miscalled Reformation. We take the 
account of what then occurred from two Lutheran historians, 
deeming them unprejudiced witnesses of the victories gained 
by what has since been styled the cause of progress and of light 

On Exaudi Sunday, in the year 1539, the Landgrave, 
Philip of Hesse, a descendant in a direct line from St. Eliza 
beth, came to the church dedicated to his ancestress, and had 
the new form of worship performed there for the first time. 
He was accompanied by Duke Albert of Brunswick ; Count 
Isenburg; a famous poet, imitator of Ovid, named Eobamia 
Hessus; Professor Crato, and a great number of Teacher* 
and learned men, amongst whom the Reformation fo md many 
partizans. The service having been concluded, he sent for 
the Commander of the Teutonic Order, who resided at Mar 
burg; this was the Sire de Milchling, who was afterwards 
elected Grand Master; he went with him to the sacristy, 
where the shrine had been deposited. An immense multitude 
of people followed them. The Prince and his friends having 
entered the sacristy, the Commander closed the door, to keep 
out the crowd. The iron grating, inside which the shrine was 
kept, vas shut ; the Commander refused to open it, and flung 
away the key; the sacristan likewise would not dare to touch 
it. The Landgrave sent for blacksmiths to bring their tools, 
v .hat they might destroy the grating; it was then discovered 
that the door which the Commander had shut could be opened 
only from the outside. It became necessary to throw out the key, 
that some one in the crowd might apply it to the lock. \V hilo 
waiting, his highness was good enough to say, tt If we are dc- 
tined to die in this sacristy, we will first appeaae our hunger 



116 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

by eating the Commander." " That is to say," replied tin 
latter, " if I am in a humour to allow myself to be eaten.* 
The necessary tools were soon brought, and when the work 
men had made a breach, the Prince cried out, " On, on ; 
thank God I Here, then, are the relics of St. Elizabeth I 
Behold my bones and her bones ! Come hither, old Mother 
Lisette ! Behold my grandame !" Then this worthy descend 
ant of a Saint, turning to the Commander, said, " It is very 
heavy, my Lord Commander ; I would be glad if it were 
full of crown-pieces; but there will be, I hope, some good 
old Hungarian florins." "I know not what is in it," said 
the Commander ; "in my life I was never so near it, and 
would to Heaven that I were not here to witness this scene 
to-day 1" The shrine was opened ; the Landgrave put in his 
nand, and drew forth a casket lined with red satin, which con 
tained the relics of the Saint : these he handed to an officer 
of his household, who threw them into a forage-bag carried 
by a servant, who brought them to the castle. The Land 
grave himself cut away a piece off the shrine, which he thought 
was of massive gold ; he had it tried by a goldsmith ; find 
ing that it was of copper gilt, he cried out, " How these 
priests deceive people I They have made this shrine of cop 
per, and kept all the gold for themselves." Then he perceived 
that he wanted the head of the saint ; and, after long insist 
ing, he forced the Commander to show him a secret press in 
the sacristy, where the head was kept, together with the crown 
and golden chalice that the Emperor Frederic had offered, on 
the day of the solemn translation, three hundred and three 
years before. Philip carried these treasures to the Castle, and 
never since have they been seen. And this was the man whom 
the Protestants named Philip the Generous. 

In the same year, 1539, he obtained a dispensation, signed 
by Dr. Martin Luther, and seven other evangelic theologian! 
Mscmbled at Wittemberg, to marry two wives at the sarat 



Of HUNOARf, 4JV 

ttme. Worthy was he to be the father of that race of princes, 
who uuring a century lived upon the price obtained from Eng 
land for their subjects, whom they sold to be employed by her 
in the American and other wars. 

The remains of the Saint were interred soon after, under 
a plain stone in the church, in a place unknown to all but 
the Landgrave and two of his confidants. In 1546, under 
the p r etext of saving it from the dangers of war, he had the 
precious shrine carried to the Castle of Ziegenhayn. But in 
two years after, yielding to the pressing demands of the Com 
mander, John de Rehen, Philip returned this sacred property 
to Marburg ; at the same time, he thought fit to obey an ordei 
sent to him, in the very year of the sacrilege, by the Emperor 
Charles V n to rastore to the church the relics of Sa ; nt Eliza 
beth. 

They were disinterred and given to the Commander, but 
were never more replaced in the shrine. On the receipt of 
them by John de Rehen, on the 12th of July, 1548, there 
were a great many parts wanting ; and, dating from that 
time, they were soon completely dispersed. 

Towards the close of the sixteenth century, Spain made 
great exertions and incurred vast expense, to collect and 
preserve the relics of saints which remained in the countries 
invaded by heresy ; the pious Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, 
then governing the Low Countries, whose memory is still so 
popular in Belgium, obtained the scull and a considerable 
portion of the bones of her holy patroness, and had them 
conveyed to Brussels, where she entrusted them to the care 
of the Carmelites. The scull was afterwards sent to the 
Castle de la Roche Guyon, in France, whence it ha been 
recently transferred to Beranpon, by the Cardinal Duke de 
Rohan, and where it is now venerated in the Hospital of St. 
James, in that city. 

One of the arms was sent to Hungary ; other portion gf 
18* 



418 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH 

the relics are preserved at Hanover, Vienna, Cologne, jtnd ai 
Br^slau, in the rich chapel dedicated to her in 1680, by the 
Cardinal Frederic of Hesse, one of her descendants. In thi? 
chapel is also the staff which she used to assist her trembling 
Ambs, when driven from Wartburg. 

We have already mentioned her glass cup, which is at Er- 
furth; her wedding-robe at Andechs; her wedding-ring at 
Braunfels, where are also her Book of Hours, her table, an<3 
her straw chair ; her veil is shown at Tongres. 

In 1833, the Count de Boos-Waldeck possessed one of her 
arms, which he offered for sale to several sovereigns, who reck 
oned her amongst their ancestors, but without being able to 
find a purchaser ! 

At Marburg ther^ are none of her relics ; but a tradition as- 
gerte that her bones were mterred under the grand altar, whence 
they were stolen in 1634. At the present time, only a piece of 
tapestry, which it is said that she worked, is shown ; it represents 
the parable of the prodigal child, and is used at the Communion 
Table, according to the Lutheran rite. Her shrine was conveyed 
to Cassel in the reign of King Jerome ; it was brought back to 
Marburg in 1814, and replaced in the sacristy. The magnifi 
cent church consecrated to God s honour under her invocation, 
has been used since 1539 by the professors of a belief which re 
gards the veneration of the saints as an idolatry, and never since 
has her sweet name been re-echoed by the voice of public praise. 

The body of this saint, so dear to heaven and earth, has 
not had the same fate which the remains of other holy ones 
have experienced. In many instances they have reposed, 
guarded by the love and veneration of successive generations, 
near the altars where the daily oblation of the Spotless Sacri 
fice is made. On the contrary, all the countries in which this 
wster of the Angels sojourned, have lost the Faith ; the chil 
dren of the people whom she so tenderly loved and to fr* 



OF HUNGARY. 419 

quently succoured, have denied and renounced her powerful 
protection. Thuringia, where she lived a maiden and a wife ; 
Hesse, where rolled on the years of her widowhood ; each hai 
abandoned Catholicity. 

The traces of the proud Luther at Wartburg, have succeed 
d to the remembrance of her pious and humble childhood 
of the trials of her youth, of her conjugal life, unrivalled in 
its tenderness and sanctity. From the height of the old 
towers of the Castle, the eye of the Catholic traveller wan 
ders over the wide-spreading country, on whose people she 
lavished untiring love, and seeks in vain a cottage or a 
church belonging to his co-religionists. At Eisenach, where 
ehe truly followed Christ by her cnarity and her sufferings, 
there is not a Catholic to invoke her not an altar to honour 
her sweet name not a consecrated stone whereon to kneel 
and demand her blessing. Even in the city where she died, 
where so many thousand pilgrims came to venerate her 
relics where even the marble is worn away from the multi 
tudes of the Faithful who knelt before her shrine her life is 
now but an historic fact, and the few Catholics who are tol 
erated there have not even a special Mass on her festival day I 
Her tomb was not respected, and the person who violated the 
sanctity of her grave was one of her own descendants. Is it 
not, then, a duty for Catholics to repair these insults, to restore 
her glory, and by every means to offer to her the tr&ute of 
their praise and love 1 

These were the feelings of the poor Capuchin, whom we 
quote for the last time with regret, when he said in the 17th 
century " When 1 visited the noble church and rich tomb 
of the saint, my heart was pierced with grief on finding them 
in possession of the Lutherans, and now so shamefully de- 
poiled of their former splendour. Oh I how I lamented 
before God and entreated the dear Saint Elizabeth, with ail 
ELY might, to restore order there. But inasmuch M Mu 



420 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

heretics neglect to revere thee, so should we render to the 
all honour so should we invoke thee with redoubled fervour, 
O glorious servant of God ! and so should we rejoice for ever 
that God called thee in thine infancy from far-off Hungary, 
to give thee to our Germany as a most rare and precious 
jewel." 

But yet, even in the countries which have forgotten hei 
glory and renounced her faith, there is devoted to the Saint 
a mark of homage perhaps the sweetest and most suitable 
ever decreed. The people have given to a little flower, as 
humble and modest as herself, the !iame of the dear Saint 
Elizabeths Floweret; this is the Cystus Heliantheum. It 
closes its corolla at sunset, as Elizabeth used to banish from 
her soul all that was not a ray of light and of grace from On 
High. How happy should we be, if this small tribute which 
we wish to render to her glorious memory was as acceptable 
to her, as must have been the feeling of pious and confiding 
affection which formerly induced some Catholic peasants tc 
confer on the flower they admired, her beloved name. 

And it will be permitted to us, before concluding these 
pages, to lift up our heart and voice to you, O glorious 
Saint to you whom we have, in humble imitation of so 
many fervent souls, dared to name also our dear Elizabeth ! 
Oh, beloved of Christ ! deign to become the celestial protect 
ress of our soul, and aid us to become the friend of your 
Friend. Turn towards us from your place in heavenly bliss, 
one of those gentle looks which on earth were sufficient to 
heal the worst infirmities of mankind. We have come, in a 
dark and faithless age, to be enlightened by the holy ra 
diance of your virtues to seek fervour at the furnace of 
your love ; and you have welcomed us, and your sweet me 
mory has often given us peace. Be you blessed for ever, foi 
the many precious tears we have shed over the history of 
your sorrows and your patience, your charity and your an- 



OF HUNGARY. 421 

gclic simplicity ; for the labours and wanderings you ha\c 
watched over ; for the many solitary days when you alone 
were present to our minds ; for the many sad hours that your 
dear image alone could solace ! Blessed be you for ever for 
all these favours, and do you deign to bless the last and most 
unworthy of your historians ! 

Respondens Jesus dixit : Confiteor tibi, Pater Doming 
coeli et teroe, quia abscondisti hsec a sapientibui et prudent 
thus et revelasti ea parvulis. 

FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH, 
NOVEMBER 19, 1841. 



422 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 



A TABLE SHOWING THE NAMES OP THE AUTHORS WHOSE WORKS 

IN MSS. OR EN A PRINTED FORM, WERE CONSULTED BY THE COURT 
MONTALEMBERT PREVIOUS TO WRITING THIS HISTORY. 

IN offering this humble work of ours, with the hope of ex 
tending the glory of the Dear Saint Elizabeth, we renounce 
all the merit of invention or originality. The only honour 
we have sought is that of being regarded as a faithful com 
piler and a correct translator of the works left us by our 
forefathers in the Faith. A pious exactness is the only qual 
ity to which we lay claim ; and, to confirm this, we insert 
a list of all the historic sources from which, during researches 
and travels for the space of three years, undertaken solely 
for this purpose, we derived the materials for the history 
which we now offer to our readers. To those who imagine 
they will find in our pages the marks of exaggerated erudi 
tion, we feel happy in being able to give some faint idea of 
the zeal, patience, and scrupulous care, with which the Ger 
man historians of the present day, without distinction of 
religious belief, labour in the fruitful but yet unexplored field 
of the history of the middle ages. Other readers, from the 
romantic and poetic character of some passages, may be dis 
posed to question our veracity ; we can but refer them to the 
authors whose names follow, and to all the authentic records 
of the Saints lives, before the epoch of mutilation and altera 
tion. We imposed on ourselves as a rule, when transcribing 
the annals of the life of Elizabeth, to add nothing, but also 
not to suppress the most minute particular. This we have 
observed with the utmost fidelity, and we can affirm that 
there is not a single detail related, nor a word attributed to 
any personage in this history, that has not been copied tx- 



OF HUNGARY. 423 

actly from works either printed or in manuscript, which were 
invested with all due authority in our eyes. On this subject 
we may apply to ourselves the expressions of the first biog 
rapher of the Saint ; and happy are we, after the lapse of five 
centuries, to speak with the same firm and simple faith" I 
take God and his holy angels to witness, that in this little 
book I have not inserted anything but what I gathered from 
correct manuscripts, or heard from religious persons of un 
questionable veracity. I confess, also, that I am unworthy to 
write of these sublime and wonderful operations of Divine 
grace ; I hope and pray, that some one, after reading this 
history, will have pity on it, and consecrate to the Saint 
whose life it relates aa erudition and an eloquence more 
worthy of her than are mine." 



PRINTED. 

AUTHORS CONTEMPORARIES OF THE SAINT OR LIVING PREVIOUS TO 
THE REFORMATION. 

1. Epistola magistri Conradi de Marburg ad Papam, de 
rita B. Elisabeth. 

2. Libellus de dictis quatuor Ancillarum S. Elisabeths sive 
examen miraculorum et vitee ejus. 

3. Hsec est forma de statu mortis Lantgraviae de Thnringia, 
ex MS. Liesbornensi, apud Martene et Durand, Collectio 
amplissima &c. Pars 1. 

4. S. Bonaventurse sermo de sancta Elisabeth. 

5. Theodorici Turingi, ordinis praedicatorum, libri octo de 
S. Elisabeth, Andreas regis Hungarorum filia. 

6. De sancta Helisabeth a legend from the famous col 
lection entitled : Aurea legeuda sanctorum quae lombardic* 
hysteria nominator, compilata per fratrum Jacoboa dt 
Yorarine 



424 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH) 

7. Auctor Rhytmicus de vita S. Elisabeth Landgrarl* 
Thuringise e codice bibl. Ducalis Saxo Gothan. 

8. Monachi Isenacensis vulgo Johannis Rothe, Chronicon 
Thuringiae vernaculum. 

9. Legende yon Sant Elsebeten in the great legend called 
Passional. 

10. Sermo de S. Elisabeth, in the Thesaurus novus de 
Sanctis. 

11. Vita illustris ac divae Elisabeth, regis Hungaromm 
filiffi conscripta stilo elegantissimo opera Christi Sacerdotia 
Jacobi Montani Spirensis inserted in the large edition of 
Surius, entitled, De Probatis Sanctorum historiis 

12. Annales de Hainaut, par Jean Lefevre published also 
after the Histoire de Hainaut, par Jacques de Guyse. 

We omit the names of several authors, such as Vincent dc 
Beauvais &c., who have only spoken in a cursory manner of 
St. Elizabeth in their works. 

CATHOLIC WRITERS AFTER THE REFORMATION. 

18. Antonii Bonfinii Rerum Ungaricum decade quaraor 
cum dimidio 1581. 

14. Annales minorum sen trium ordinem a S. Francisco 
institutorum a R. P. Luca Wadding hiberno. Rome, 1732. 

15 Justus Lipsius, Diva Virgo Hallensis opera, Tome 
II. page 808. 

16. Bavaria sancta, descripta a Matthaeo Radero, de Soc. 
Jesus Monaci, 1615. 

17. La vie de S. Elisabeth, fille du Roi de Hongrie, 
Duchesse de Thuringe, premiere religieuse du tiers ordre de 
St. Fra^ois, recueillie par le R. P. Apollinaire, revue, cor- 
rigee, et augmentee, par le R. P. Jean Marie, du meme ordre. 
Paris, 1660. 

18. La Vie de S. Elizabeth, Ac., par le P Arehang*, 



OF HUNGARY. 425 

Jcligicux penitent du troisieme ordre de St. Fran9ois Paris 
1692. 

19. Auserlesenes history Bach, von den lieben Gottei 
heiligen, &c., by P. Martin de Kochem, Capuchin, Aug 
bourg, 1732. 

20. Histoire des Ordres Monastiques, le P Helyot, Paris, 
HIS. 

21. Die Legende der H. Elisabeth, von Johann Graf 
tfailath. 1822. 

PROTESTANT AUTHORS. 

22. Adami Ursini, Molybergensis Chronicon Thuringia 
rernaculum, apud Menckenii Script. Rer. Sax. 1547 

23. Diva Elisabetha magnifice coronata ; Christiliche 
Ehrengedcechtniss der H. Elisabeth, in zwei Predigten, von 
J. B. Happel, Lutheran Minister of the Teutonic Order. 
1645. 

24. Georg. Michel Pfefferkorn, Auserlesene Geschichtc 
Ton der beriimhten Landgrafschaft Thiiringen, 1684. 

25. J. J. Winkelman, Beschreibung der Furstenthiimer, 
Hessen, &c. Bremen, 1698. 

26. Chr. Fron. Paullini historia Eisenacensis, &c. Frank 
fort, 1698. 

27. Andreas Toppius Historia der Stadt Eisenach, rer- 
fasset, 1660. 

28. Joh. Mich. Koch. Historiche Erzoelung von dem Schlo* 
Wartburgob Eisenach, 1710. 

29. Das im Jahr, 1708, lebeude und gchwebende Eisenach. 
Ton Johann Limperg, 1709. 

30. Bina Sanctarum, Elisabetharum (her of Schaengen, 
who died in 1056, and ours) veluti illustrissimamm Soec. j) 
and riii., testium veritatis evangel icae in Hassia, memoria 

iu t nammii dcelarata, a J. A. Liebknecht, 1729 



426 LIFE OF ST. ELIZABETH, 

SI. J. fl. Voh Falckenstein, Thuringische Chronik 2 ? 
Erfurt, 1738. 

32. J. G. A. Galletti, Geschichte Thuringens, Gotha, 
1783. 

33. Thuringische geschichte aus SAGITTARIUS hinterlasseu 
en Papieren, &c. 17 87. 

34. Elisabeth die heilige, Landgrcefin von Thuringen und 
Hessen, &c., TOD Dr. Karl Wilhelm Justi, 1797. 1835. 

35. J. C. S. Thon, Schloss Wartburg, Eisenach, 1826. 

36. Histoire Genealogique de la Maison de Hesse. By 
Baron Turkheim. Strasbourg, 1819. 

37 Geschichte von Hessen, von Christophe Rommel, 1820. 
38. Geschichte der Hohenstaufen, und ihrer Zeit. by Fred- 
trie de Raumer. 

MANUSCRIPTS. 

Das Leben des edeln tuginthaftin lantgraven Ludewigii 
jf de was elich gemahel unde wert der heiligen hochgebor- 
nen Frouwin Elysabeth, Life of the noble and virtuous Land 
grave Louis, husband and liege lord of the holy and most 
noble lady Elizabeth, written by the Sire Berthold, his chap^ 
lain. Library at Gotha, another at Cassel. 

2. Vita S. Elisabethse Laraigraviae a fratre Csesario, sacer 
doti in monasterio vallis S. Petri, better known as Caesar of 
Heisterbach, 1237. 

3. Der lieben frowen sant Elysabeten de landgrefin leben 

4. Cy en commence la vie de Ste. Elysabel fille au roy d 
Hongrie. Rutebeuf MS. 7633. Bibli. Roy. Paris. 

5. Chi commenche de Ste. Yzabiel JLe moine Robert 
MS. 13th century. Bib. du roy. Paris, Ko. 1862. 

6. Sente Elsebet Leben. Darmstadt. 

t. Von Sente Elysabethen. Strasbourg. 
8. Von Sente Elsebethen. Heidelberg, 13 



Or HUNGARY. if? 

9. Vita S. Elysbethae Hungarue Regin. Florence. 

10. Legende der H. Elisabet und S. Gertraud ir matter. 

11. Historia ecclesiastica Isenacensis per Munich. M. Nicb- 
laum Rebhahn, 1621. Eisenach. 

12. Joh. Whil. Waldschmidt. Commentatio succincta de 
rita et fatis M. Conradi de Marburg, Confessoris divae Elisv 
bethae. Cassel Library. 

13. Leben Mag. Conradi Von Marburg. J.N Schminkiua. 
BiblL de Cassel. 

And thirteen other documents in Manuscript collected by 
the Bollandists, and DDW in the Burguudiaii Library, 



BX 4700 .E4 M6513 1886 

SMC 

Montalembert , Charles 

Forbes, comte de, 
The life of Saint 

El izabeth. 
AWP-3565 (awsk)